From one of Britain’s most popular toys to the target of police raids: how a children’s doll became a symbol of racism

Detail of a store window selling seaside holiday trinkets including different sizes of racist dolls, on July 14 2017, at Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England.
A police raid on a bar just outside of London renewed a debate over racist dolls.
The dolls, historically known as “golliwogs,” have long divided opinion in British society.
Insider has put together a brief history of the controversial figures.

A police raid on a pub just outside of London has reignited a debate on one of Britain’s most controversial toys.

Police officers seized several dolls, known as “golliwogs” or “gollies,” from the White Hart Inn, in Grays, Essex, last week as part of a hate crime investigation following a complaint.

The pub’s landlady, Benice Ryley, has insisted that the dolls aren’t racist, while her husband, Christopher Ryley, is under further investigation for a Facebook comment on a photo of the dolls hanging on a wooden beam, saying: “They used to hang them in Mississippi years ago,” in an apparent…

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This article was written by Isobel van Hagen and originally published on