Sindy (by Exeter-based manufacturer Pedigree Dolls & Toys) was introduced in Britain in 1963. US company Mattel had offered Pedigree the opportunity to licence its Barbie doll, but the company wanted a more British girl next door look than the glamorous American model.
The firm did cooperate with another American company, Ideal, even borrowing its slogan. Ideal manufactured Tammy, “the doll you love to dress”.
The doll got her name from a survey where young girls chose Cindy from a choice of four options. The spelling was changed for marketing reasons.
The advertisements claimed ‘Sindy is more than a doll, she’s a real personality. The free, swinging, grown-up girl who dresses the way she likes’. Move over Germaine Greer.
Her boyfriend Paul joined her in 1965 (so was she still dressing to please herself?). Her little sister, Patch, arrived in 1966 – obviously to a different father, as Sindy had jet black hair while Patch was a platinum blonde. Further arrivals were Sindy’s friends Vicki and Mitzi, plus Patch’s pals Poppet and Betsy in 1968.
Sindy may have lacked the Hollywood glamour of arch-rival Barbie, but Sindy was the first truly British fashion doll. The doll was crowned Toy of The Year in 1968, a distinction repeated in 1970.
In 1970 her glossy hair was given a centre parting and kept in place with a hair band. She also got joints (not those kind!) for the first time.
Walking Sindy was sold with the shortest of miniskirts in yellow and green tweed. She also gained a full range of kitchen and bedroom furniture . . .