Robertson’s Iconic Logo
Sometimes the more mundane metal detecting finds are the most interesting – like the Golly jam lid shared by detectorist John Lewis. Golly is probably best known in England, appearing during the 1920s as the advertising logo for Robertson’s Jams. From the time the scheme began in 1928 until it ended in 2001, more than 20 million badges were sent out. If you have found one, please share so I can add to the blog.
The Golly was as much a victim of racism as any other. He was a large part of most children’s childhood and stood for no more than jam and the fun of collecting his many friends.
The badges became so popular that other items of Golly advertising merchandise became available and each year brought new items. It is a little known fact that the badges became a great strain on the company as nearly all monies raised from sales were donated to the various charities that Robertson’s supported. These charities included Cancer Research, Cystic Fibrosis, The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Leukaemia Research and the 2001 Children in need Appeal.
Eventually Golly suffered at the hands of the PC brigade and the continual habit of linking him to the word ‘Golliwog’ finally saw him off. It is believed that the firm was so taken aback that anybody could even think their company brand stood for racist views that they didn’t attempt to defend themselves and instead chose to retire Golly even though several surveys supported them.
So, Roberson’s, one of the greatest ever supporters of charities, who stood for healthy eating, recycling, and our children’s safety whilst promoting sport and fitness, was finally seen off in the name of racism.
Free Golliwog Brooches
Actually, the Golly was as much a victim of racism as any other. He was a large part of most children’s childhood – including mine – and stood for no more than jam and the fun of collecting his many friends. With his natty bow tie and and flowing jacket, the minstrel doll was – depending on your point of view – either an innocent nursery-land character run over by the PC bandwagon or a grossly offensive racial slur. YOU decide. I reckon he should have been recognised as the pride of his era! Instead, he was removed from labels in 2002.
‘A golliwog brooch will be sent in return for six paper gollies (one paper golly with each jar of Robertsons jams or marmalades) There are four types of brooch: Standard Golliwog, Scout Golliwog, Piper Golliwog and Guitarist Golliwog. Ask your grocer for details.’ – from the 1969 advertisement on the left.
Some of the Badges I Have Found
I haven’t been able to identify the badge top left. Can you help? My thanks go to the administrators, Wayne ‘Maize Runner’ and member John Lewis on the NRH forum for their help in the preparation of this post. Also to the guys who have allowed me to feature their finds.
Ian, the magicman, suggested a lead for the badge, (top left ) and I followed it up. The CRUSADERS founded in 1906 were an evangelist organisation whose aim was to introduce younger children to the Bible. They are still active and are now known as Urban Saints.
Detectorists are now sharing their finds. This rather dirty guitarist was found by Gary Michalczuk a few years ago.
The examples below – nurse and hockey player – were found by ‘TheJim’ of Detecting Scotland. Nice one! Or should that be TWO – in almost pristine condition.
I was able to find a couple on the PAS database.
And, the rather distorted example below.
The Wikipedia entry (quoted by PAS) is worth a look because it gives more information about Robertson’s Golly. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robertson%27s
This next example is a Bramah! Detectorist Steven Gaisford of The Metal Detectives FB Group loves Gollies and has been collecting them for years. No prize for guessing his nickname – Golly. I love his submission, and I think you will too! I guess that tat is a pirate Golly . . . don’t think Robertson’s had one of those. Unless you know different.
A version of this post was originally published in the NHR magazine of June 2016