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Colonel bob henderson

Colonel Bob' Henderson 1904 – 1990

Since the birth of the teddy bear in 1902 there have been many famous people who have gone ‘public’ about their relationship with their teddy bear, for example, the famous poet Sir John Betjeman, who wrote about his beloved teddy bear whom he called Archibald Ormsby-Gore.  However, two very famous people who had a very special understanding of teddy bears and the magic that they bring to people was the late actor Peter Bull and his good friend, Colonel Robert (Bob) Henderson.

Robert Henderson was born in 1904, just two years after Richard Steiff created the 55PB teddy bear.  When Robert Henderson’s brother, Charles, was given a magnificant cinnamon centre seam Steiff Teddy Bear for his birthday, his younger brother Robert instantly fell in love with it and soon became it’s owner.

When Robert Henderson was a child he loved playing soldiers and there are numerous photographs around of him playing ‘soldiers’ with his Teddy Boy companion.  As a young soldier, Robert Henderson would be known to always carry a miniature teddy bear with him at all times, just like the famous A.A. Milne, who always carried a mascot dog in his pocket.  During the North West European campaign, Robert Henderson served under the very famous General Montgomery.

Robert Henderson’s home in Edinburgh was indeed crammed full of teddy bears and teddy bear related items which either he had purchased or which had been given to him by friends and family as everyone knew of his love for teddy bears.

Colonel Bob Henderson retired from the Royal Scots Regiment in 1955 after serving as a firearms expert, he then completely devoted his life to the study of teddy bears.  He recognised the support and hidden strength that teddy bears provide from childhood way into adulthood.  In those days, of course, teddy bear collecting was practically unheard of, so his studies must have raised quite a few eyebrows and surely must have been considered quite ecccentric, especially for a Scotsman with his background.

Colonel Bob Henderson began recording people’s reminiscences and tales of the teddy bear in their lives.  He was indeed a great historian who, over the years built up a great deal of knowledge about man and his teddy bear.  He became a great support for his good friend and fellow teddy bear lover, Peter Bull when Bull wrote his famous book called ‘Bear With Me’ which was published in 1969 and is still very popular today, although now quite difficult to find.

Robert Henderson’s daughter Cynthia, was born in 1942 and it was then that Henderson’s beautiful Steiff ‘Teddy Boy’ Bear changed sex and rather than being known as Teddy Boy had now become Teddy Girl, after Cynthia dressed the bear in a frilly dress.

Colonel Robert Henderson had a massive array of beautiful teddy bears but Teddy Girl was always his pride and joy and she carried so many early memories, he adored her right up until his death in 1990.

Teddy Girl was sold at auction at Christie’s in 1994 where she fetched a staggering ?110,000.  Teddy Girl now resides at the Izu Teddy Bear Museum in Japan where she is the star attraction.

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