Lakeland Bears

How to identify a Lakeland Bear

Created by Wendy Phillips, 80% of all 15 ins and 18ins Lakeland Bears were dressed by Wendy in outdoor clothing. The Shetland wool sweaters she designed are found in numerous patterns and shades. Tweed or corduroy is used for the cap and trousers. Scarves and socks are hand or machine knitted. Traditional handmade clogs are normally worn (leather upper nailed to wooden sole). Each bear carries a rucksack containing a map and holds a walking stick.

How to identify a Lakeland Bear

Lakeland Bears

1987 - 2002

Little Folk bear head

The first Lakeland Bears appeared as a collection of 200 made by Little Folk in 1987. Named 'Windermere Woodland Bears' they were made of nut-brown plush and had brown eyes, black plastic noses, black mouths (painted not stitched) and brown suede pads. They were 18 inches (45cms) tall. Each had a white satin Lakeland Bear label stitched into the side seam of the body. N.B. Later bears had stitched noses and mouths.

Little Folk bear label 1 Little Folk bear label 2
The original Lakeland Bear satin label used from 1987 to Decemeber 1991 This second label used January 1992 to December 1993 was intoduced to comply with new EC regulations


Over the years Little Folk supplied John and Wendy Phillips with a great many bears of different sizes and colours which were dressed by Wendy for sale at the Lakeland Bear shop. Lakeland Bears of all sizes had a white satin label stitched into the seam (see above). The bears shown on the right are 9ins, 12ins, 15ins and 18ins (28ins not shown). Only the 18ins and 15ins bears wore clogs.


In 1994, after Little Folk ceased trading, Lakeland Bears were made by Deans Rag Book Co.Ltd. Deans continued making Lakeland Bears until 2002 when John and Wendy retired. Only 18ins and 15ins bears were made by Deans. Fur colours were either pale honey or dark brown. All Lakeland Bears made by Deans Rag Book Co.Ltd have this white satin label in the side seam (see below).

Lakeland Bears are fully jointed and love posing for the camera. Bears dressed in outdoor clothing and clogs were always the most popular but occasionally tiny wellington boots would be worn (see below). On the whole clogs were the preferred footwear and even Queen Elizabeth Bear was given a pair of beautiful white clogs to complete her outfit (see below)


A selection of 18ins Lakeland Bears

Beatrix Potter Miss Marple and Knitting Grandpa Victorian Mountaineer
King Henry Queen Elizabeth Shakesbeare Sir Francis Drake
William Wordsworth Jane Austen Puritan Father Puritan Mother
Bramble Oakwood Bracken Farmer Rigg Sheep Farmer
Lady with Embroidery Nurse holding twins Tartan Twosome Padlock Holmes
Gardener Royal Guard Christmas Fairy Santa
Pirate Bear in Waxed Jacket Chef  

Four 15ins Bears

Bumble Bear Lucy Locket and Dog Pocket Ben Weatherstaff and Robin Mary and Little Lamb

A collection of 12ins Bears

Boys Girls

A large family of 9ins bears

Six bears featured in the story
'Rowan's Dinosaur'

In 1993 Wendy wrote a story about a little bear named Rowan and his pet dinosaur. The six bears featured in the story were made by Little Folk and then Deans. They are Rowan Berridale (with little pet dinosaur), his sister Holly (with tiny teddy), Logan Berridale (with skis), Grandma Pearl (with her knitting), Bramble Oakwood (with walking stick) and Padlock Homes the indomitable detective (with magnifying glass). You will find two of Wendy stories featuring these characters on this web site.

Mohair Bears

From the beginning Lakeland Bears were made from plush as opposed to mohair. Wendy made this decision as her bears were so well dressed in outdoor clothing that only the furry faces and paws could be seen. Fully dressed mohair bears would be very expensive. However, in the early 1990s, Little Folk did make a small number of mohair bears in both 18ins and 15ins. Most of them were sold without clothing. (See picture left). A special limited edition of 33 bears (18ins) were named 'Cumberland Rum Butter'. Wendy dressed these bears in a red neckerchief and blue apron and each carried a little wooden spoon and bowl. A recipe for traditional Cumberland rum butter was tucked into each apron pocket. (See picture right).

In the mid 1990s Deans made some 15ins and 18ins bears in pale honey coloured mohair (see picture). Some were dressed and others were sold without clothing.

Wilderness Bears in the snow

In the early 1990s Wendy fell in love with a 'Wilderness Bear' designed and made by her friend Betsy O. Davison who lived in Florida. In 1992 Wendy got permission from Betsy to have a small collection of these bears made by Little Folk. Looking very different from the upright Lakeland Bears who wore smart clothing, the cuddly dark brown Wilderness Bears were an immediate success.

Westmoreland Green Slate Bear

In 1995 'HM Bears' made a special limited edition of 36 cream mohair bears for Wendy and John. Shown left, this bear stands 15ins tall and wears a chunk of genuine Westmorland green slate around his neck. The embroidered label on his foot reads 'Lakeland Bears 1995 - Westmorland Green Slate'.

© John Phillips and Wendy Phillips