Former Palitoy factory named after Bob Simpson

Published on: 1st August 2022

The building in Coalville in Leicestershire, now a warehouse, has been named The Simpson Building after Bob Simpson who passed away in June.

The former factory, which produced some of the UK’s most iconic toys, has been named after the “father of Action Man”, following the death of Bob Simpson, who ran toy company Palitoy for 12 years, from 1969 to 1981.

Bob was instrumental in the sale of the Palitoy brand to General Mills Inc., and became chief executive of Palitoy Limited, overseeing a golden era for the company: Tiny Tears was voted best girls toy for three consecutive years, while Action Man also won many awards, including the Toy of the Decade in 1980. The company developed numerous toy ranges, including Discovery Time, Parker Games and award-winning Pippa. From a modest £300,000 turnover pre-Tressy, Bob steered the company to £30m by the start of the 1980s.

Bob’s daughter, Sandie Jefford, said: “It is a special moment for the family to see Dad’s name on the side of the former Palitoy factory. We are so proud of him for introducing iconic toys such as Action Man to the British people, and for giving joy and pleasure to hundreds of thousands of children”

Sandie added: “At his recent funeral, a former colleague talked about the Palitoy family and described Dad as a fair, supportive and generous boss, which is a lovely thing to hear about your father.”

The company was once one of the biggest employers in Leicestershire. Bob Simpson first started working there as marketing manager for Palitoy when it was the toy division of a company called Cascelloid.

In 2017, Bob unveiled a Leicestershire County Council green plaque on the site of the former Palitoy factory to celebrate 80 years of toy-making in Coalville. He also opened the Many Faces of Palitoy exhibition in 2019, which commemorated 100 years since Cascelloid was founded in Leicester.


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