How do you mend a decapitated teddy bear?
And other answers to crucial questions from Liverpool's Doll and Teddy Hospital
Dear members — why not step out of the sunshine, and into the cool environs of what is arguably Wavertree’s finest institution? Namely, a “hospital” that has been repairing family treasures for over 30 years. The Doll & Teddy Hospital on Smithdown Road doesn’t just attract Liverpudlians, but patrons from all over the world, offering a unique area of expertise. We sent Abi down to investigate the ins and outs of toy medicine, taking an injured plush toy in for some urgent emergency care.
But first, your Tuesday briefing — featuring a lawsuit against Everton FC and, Juneishly enough, a plan to swap out a decaying prison for trees and wildflowers.
Your Post briefing
Liverpool Crown Court has heard that the murder of Elle Edwards was a culmination of an ongoing feud between rival groups. Prosecuting Nigel Power KC said that Connor Chapman — charged with Edwards’ murder — shot at a group outside the Lighthouse pub, with whom Edwards happened to be standing, having a cigarette. The prosecution said the 23-year-old also injured multiple others, including his two intended targets. Chapman has pleaded not guilty of murder, but has pleaded guilty to handling the stolen vehicle allegedly used in the shooting.
The former manager of Everton is suing the club. Carlo Acelotti’s lawyers filed the claim late last Friday, relating to “general commercial contracts and arrangements''. The timing could not be worse, it was announced yesterday that three members of the club’s board are leaving their positions, with chairman Bill Kenwright also looking likely to leave. It follows months of fan protests against the club’s board and owner, Farhad Moshiri, who has been seeking investment to fund the club’s new stadium, which is over budget and delayed.
HMP Kennet, a decaying former prison shut down in 2017, is set to be demolished and replaced by gardens for the patients of a nearby mental health facility. The £1.5m development was agreed by Mersey Care NHS Trust, who said they were “delighted” as their patients found the view of the dilapidated prison unsettling. A spokesperson said the new park, filled with trees and wildflowers, will "help the therapeutic recovery of mental health and learning disability patients".
By Abi Whistance
“Can I help you, dear?” a voice behind me asks. I’ve had my head crammed in a charity shop bin of miscellaneous kids’ toys for the past quarter of an hour, as I rummage with intent. On extracting my torso from the bin, I turn around to find an elderly lady regarding me with some bemusement. “I know this is a bit weird, but do you know where I could find anything…how do I put it? Do you have any toys that are proper mangled?”
“Follow me, duckie.”
I’m in Barnardo’s on a mission: to find a teddy bear that’s seen better days. I’m headed to the Doll and Teddy Hospital in Wavertree for the day, and I intend to witness their craftsmanship for myself.
The Doll and Teddy Hospital first opened in 1982, acting as a small antiques shop under the name Belgravia. Twelve years later it moved to a larger unit on Smithdown Road, metamorphosing into its final form: a toy repair shop. It has long prompted curiosity from passersby, which seems understandable — like everyone else who passes, I want to know more. In the age of the internet and an endless supply of cheap toys, how has a business focused on longevity — treasuring the toys you have, rather than just swapping them for shiny new ones — thrived for so long? With a long list of glowing reviews online ranging from decapitated teddies to six-month-long vintage doll repairs, I’m sure I can track down an object or two for them to take a look at.
Speaking of which, you’d think that locating a slightly mangled secondhand teddy bear would be a challenge on a par with, say, finding a drunk person on Bold Street after 10pm on a Friday. But it turns out to be surprisingly tricky. I’ve hit up all the major charity shops, and come up empty. The woman explains the situation to her colleagues and they all scour the shop. Finally, one of the staff members pulls a stuffed dog plushie from a crate. “What about this?” she asks me. The dog gazes up dolefully at me, but it needn’t bother — it’s got all its limbs, it’s barely even scuffed. I’m not sure there’s much repairing to be done, I say.
Out come the scissors. Snip. One ear lands on the floor. Piles of stuffing fall around me. Snip. The tail, gone. “What about now?” the woman chuckles. I pay for the toy, stuffing its limp body and severed ears into a plastic carrier bag.