Toys TOYS

Sindy

It said a lot about a person whether they preferred to play with Barbie or Sindy. And it wasn't just about where you lived - Sindy was born and bred in Britain, whereas the more brash Barbie was a through and through American.

Sindy hit the toy stand five years after her biggest rival, in 1963, courtesy of Pedigree Dolls & Toys. And while Barbie had already won over most little girls, many a British girl was won over by this new, curvier, fuller-lipped role model. You might even taunt Ken's oh-so chiselled face by saying that Sindy was prettier than Barbie. Palitoy's Tressy and Pippa Dolls were certainly no match back then, and Sindy managed to scoop the top spot as the UK's biggest-selling toy in 1968 and 1970.

The original marketing campaign gave a clear idea about who Britain's best-loved toy was: 'Sindy is the free, swinging girl that every little girl longs to be. Sindy has sports clothes, glamour clothes, everyday clothes — a dog, skates, a gramophone — everything... Every genuine Sindy outfit is a child's dream come true. Each one is designed for today's fashionable young women by today's leading women designers. They are authentic miniature replicas of the latest adult clothes.'

It was all true, and at 11.5 inches tall, Sindy stood in her Oscar de la Renta replica ballgowns with typical British poise, and 40-odd years later, she's just as elegant. Let's just ignore those rumours of various face-lifts and illegitimate children... for now.

Like any doll to have EVER been created, Sindy came with a seemingly endless array of a accessories (which gave her the edge over Barbie until the 80s at least). From different outfits and shoes, to her own MGB sports car (though Action Man occasionally borrowed it) and her own pony, it was hardly a surprise when we found out in 1965 that she had a rather dashing boyfriend, too. Well, someone had to pay for al that! Paul was his name. What did he look like? A slightly younger, slightly better looking version of Ken is what. Sindy also had a younger sister, Patch, and two friends called Vicki and Mitzi.

For the more ambitious Sindy fan, there were some crazy playsets to collect too, including the Super Sindy Electronic Spaceship and the Wall Of Sound, which was basically a mini living room replica with objects in it that made lifelike sound effects. Another must-have! What wasn't quite so 'must-have' were the many attempt by your mum to fashion clothes for your doll out of patterns found in magazines. If Sindy were a real-life celebrity, she'd have swung between the best-dressed and worst-dressed lists haphazardly.

But back to those facelift rumours. In the early 70s, when Hasbro took over manufacturing Sindy, they decided to make her look more American - therefore changing the very thing that made her a success in the first place. It's no surprise that the sales began to plummet, then Mattel, makers of Barbie, sued Hasbro for breach of copyright. So it was back to the drawing board. The late-90s saw two relaunches and changing of manufacturers retarget Sindy to the pre-school market in a bid to claw back some sales. This may well be the reason her eyes become bigger and more almond-shaped. Maybe the maker of the latest-craze Bratz dolls was inspired by this, who knows? Still, our childhood playmate doesn't look a day over 15 to us, which isn't bad when you're pushing half a century!

There's just one thing that's always puzzled us: why call her Sindy? Not exactly British-sounding is it. Bizarrely, it was the peoples' choice - when little girls were polled on the streets of Blighty over which name they thought suited the doll, they decided Sindy was perfect.

Today, original Pedigree Sindy dolls are collectibles (the more Americanised Hasbro efforts aren't as much). In 2003, a first-edition Sindy, complete with original Foale and Tuffin Weekenders outfit (jeans and a striped sweatshirt), box and fashion booklet was worth approximately £160-200. Sindy's rarer friends Gayle (a doll made for the American market in 1975) was worth up to £400, and Mitzi (her French friend from 1968) up to £500. Plastic fantastic!


Author of this article:



Contributors to this article:

  • There are no contributors yet

Message boards

Sindy Last post by Richard1978
06 June 2017
Sindy Last post by www.doyouremember.co.uk
03 February 2012
Sindy accessories Last post by Austin Maxi
25 July 2010

Do You Remember Sindy?

Do You Remember Sindy?

  • Chaobaby7
    on
    loved it when mum made them clothes, the more clothes the Sindys had the better
  • Chaobaby7
    on
    I had Active Sindy, still got her minus her hands which came off. Loved Sindy.
  • LouiseOC
    on
    i had several Sindys, I loved them. When I was a child, in the 60s, barbie hadn't made much of an impression here. I had the red car I remember, and later a Sindy house. i didn't keep mine, but since discovering ebay, i have recently acquired a collection of them, and a house for them to live in.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    Isnt' it odd how the grass always seemed greener. My parents approved of Sindy but wouldn't hear of me having Barbie or Daisy. Unfortunately accessories were always going to be out and outfits were hand me down or saved up for fiercely. I didn't like Sindy's broad face, the shoulder length hair that always seemed to go fuzzy, her rather too full figure and did she always have to wear flat shoes when Barbie and Daisy had heels? I remember her going completely off the wall punky during the nineties when I was collecting fashion dolls for a while. I don't think she's even made anymore. Back to the mop and bucket, girl!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    My Sindy doll had dark hair in a sort of short matted curly at the ends style. she wore a short sleeved yellow jumper and a yellow and brown checked skirt. her legs bent funny at the knees. I had a nurses outfit for her - really old fashioned now - the dress, the blue cape that crossed across her chest to hold it on and the white head scarf thing. My nan used to knit her some cracking clothes lol. I particuarly remember the yellow and brown knitted trousers, jumper and bobble hat :)
    • Anonymous user
      on
      I am glad you said dark hair as mine was a brunette she looked prettiest of them all I thought
  • Anonymous user
    on
    I loved my Sindy doll to death! I named one Jackie and the other one Sandra. They had loads of clothes and shoes, I even made them newspapers. My Daughter has the Sindy scooter that I used to have and the wardrobe.
  • Anonymous user
    on
    My mum used to make most of my sindy dolls' clothes, or I used to be given some by my friends. I ended up with the auburn or black haired ones, while my sister had the blonde ones which I think was good planning by my mum so as to avoid nuclear fallouts -but as a child I thought it wasn't fair! When the hair got matted, that was the signal for a grade one all over with the scissors...
    • Chaobaby7
      on
      I gave my Pippa doll a buz cut, i made her go Punk and totally messed up her hair
  • Anonymous user
    on
    My number one toy, i had weekender sindy, ballerina sindy, The bedroom suite with the dressing table and little vase of flowers, powder puff, etc and the horse. All in the early to mid 70s. Ballerina sindy held my hand as i was put under anasthetic to have some teeth removed. I am now retreiving back my old favourites from ebay having given all my dolls away during my babysitting days!
  • Anonymous user
    on
    My favourite was Active Sindy (the ballerina) - when one wore out through play I always wanted another. I also remeber my sister having the British Airways Airhostess (bought in Lewiss' in Blackpool in the 70's) I was so jealous he he. Why did they have to go and ruin her looks by making her more American??? I also remeber the hairdryer that she sat under - it had a button you pressed to make a hairdryer noise. Finally not forgetting Sindy's horse - I went through a very horsey phase and loved tacking up & grooming the horse. Although, I have to say Barbie's horse was better cos the legs were jointed and moved, also it had a longer mane and tail for brushing and styling - ahh happy days.....
  • Anonymous user
    on
    My Sindy could do pointy toes was the major thing for me - my sister had a 'Daisy' doll that couldn't point her toes. I don't think that Barbie was that popular back then.