Percy Mortimer

Percy, born Clarence Percival Mortimer on 15th July 1924,  known to those closest to him as Sonny.

Percy Married three times his 1st Wife had a son Louie, 2nd wife Dorothy Joyce, had two sons Gary & Michael, 3rd wife 1969 Sylvia had a son and a daughter named Ross & Karen.

Percy worked as a toy maker in London manufacturing voice boxes for talking dolls.  He was also known to be involved with Bendy Toys.

He created the formula we now know as the Pelham composite.  Bob initially used the compound under licence, later buying the the right to use it in the early 50’s.

Percy was asked to sculpt heads for the new Alice in Wonderland range.  The heads he created bore very close resemblance to drawings by Sir John Tenniel.  The heads he created within this range were SL Alice, Mad Hatter and Duchess.  Notably the head for Alice was also used for SL Cinderella and Fairy for a time.  Gill Leaper would create the later versions.

Percy had a great deal to do with the moulding process at the factory.  He would create the prototype head usually in clay or plasticine (if clay this would be covered with polythene to stop it drying out until finished) and from this create the first mould which was sent to the foundry for casting in aluminium,  when the mould was returned Percy would hand finish each one ensuring they had no imperfections and therefore ready for casting puppet parts.  He would also refit the moulds when they became worn from use at this busy time.

Ever the entrepreneur, Bob Pelham also owned other properties, most notably a set of 4 cottages on the factory site.  It is likely Bob acquired them when he bought the factory.  Merlin Cottages and are still there today,  Percy lived at number 3.

Bob and Percy had a great friendship, Percy would often take his sons to Bob's house which could be described as a collectables museum.

Percy created a new stringing system whereby a plastic clip was attached to the strings which would clip to the bar, however unfortunately Bob died before it could be put into production.

Outside of the world of Pelham, Percy was a talented sculptor and can be seen here with one of his commissions, a bronze bust of John Redwood MP.  He also created small bronze animal trophies, a large heron, 

Miniature Cockney Urchins Girl & Boy, Horse breeds, Cartoon Frog etc type models Plus many other animals / Game figurines,  some in Silver.

He also created a beautiful  Bronze Woman similar to the “Prudential  Insurance" logo, it was about 18 inches tall.

Percy would work from home unless it was a large piece as then could often be found in his son Gary's workshop using some space to create his models.  The larger pieces such as commission work of a Cow for local breweries, were built up from wooden frames and chicken wire, then coated in clay before making the final fibreglass piece.

 

Percy and his sons bought a variety of the original casting moulds from the factory when it closed. They  started Puppet Land Ltd on 6th January 1994,  but unfortunately shortly after the planning stage Percy died aged 69, taking with him his wealth of knowledge of puppet making.