54-piece cardboard puzzle featuring Paddington Bear character. Made by Whitman Publishing to tie-in with BBC Paddington television series, first broadcast in 1976 and ran until 1980 (56 episodes plus two Christmas specials).

The first jigsaw puzzle was made by an engraver and map maker called John Spilsbury in the 1760s and featured a map of Europe. Puzzles were originally educational aids and the name ‘jigsaw puzzle’ comes from the tool used to create them from wood from the 1880s. Large jigsaws were expensive and popular at country house parties, as well as in hotels and on ocean liners. In less wealthy settings, people made them at home using pictures from magazines pasted onto wood or cardboard. Jigsaw puzzles became hugely popular and people held puzzle parties in homes, social clubs and church halls, where team raced against the clock to complete them. Newspapers printed puzzles for readers to stick on card, cut out and complete and return for competitions. They were very popular during the Great Depression as cheap, long-lasting entertainment.

Paddington Bear came on the scene in 1958 in Michael Bond’s book ‘A Bear Called Paddington’, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum, the first of more than 20 books in the series.

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More information:

Date 1970s
Material(s) Cardboard
Item number MBPO79

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