Today's post, 21st October 2011, features probably the most famous British manufacturer of jigsaw puzzles, Waddingtons. Many Waddingtons' puzzles depicted steam railways and two of them are shown in the following photographs.
The original company was founded in the 19th century by John Waddington and Wilson Barratt and renamed John Waddington Ltd., in 1905. The original printing business was successfully supplemented from 1922 with the introduction of playing cards. Jigsaw puzzles, using American cutting technology, were added to the company's expanding portfolio in the early 1930's. From the company headquarters in Leeds, Waddingtons produced circular puzzles from the 1930's and jigsaw puzzle books in the 1940's. Geographic jig-maps, made from the 1960's, were also very popular. The Christmas limited edition jigsaw puzzle range, revered by collectors, began in 1994, the same year that the company was purchased by Hasbro Inc., of America. The original name lived on, however, with Woolworths as a major supplier of 500 and 1000-piece puzzles. Woolworths survived until 2008 leaving the future of the Waddingtons name in doubt.
The first photograph shows the 350-piece puzzle titled An Audience with King Edward II. A man and his children are depicted overlooking a wall behind which the now preserved 'King' class 4-6-0 locomotive, No.6023 King Edward II, thunders by heading a rake of Great Western Railway (GWR) chocolate and cream passenger coaches. The Sydney Gardens form a majestic backdrop to this action on the Paddington - Bristol line. The only surviving Georgian gardens in Bath, they are now a public park. Built in 1840 the line is hidden in a cutting but trains can be viewed from vantage points clearly shown in Barry Freeman's superb artwork.