Quite why the bear has gained this soft image is inexplicable. Try cuddling up to one in the wild, and it’s one big clawfest. Blood, tattered clothes, internal haemorrhaging and probably being consumed alive await if you try and take a grizzly to bed with you.
Still, the less damaging versions have been regarded as the perfect bedside companions for decades, and many have been saved from a lonely fate in adult attics by England’s Teddy Bear Museum.
Originally in Stratford-upon-Avon, the museum moved its 700-strong collection to the Polka Theatre on Wimbledon Broadway, London in 2007. They missed a trick – they could have taken Paddington back to his rightful home.
Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating collection, dating back centuries. And the old tatty fellas have considerably more charm then the bright pink concoctions with movable parts that children choke on today.
Getting to the Teddy Bear Museum
Nearest International Airport: London Heathrow.
Using public transport: On the London Underground, take the District Line to Wimbledon, or use the Overground service to the same station. Turn left as you get out of the station and walk for about ten minutes to the Polka Theatre.
More information: Teddy Bear Museum website
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