The landlord of the White Hart pub in Grays, Essex is refusing to take down a collection of golliwog dolls from behind the bar, despite receiving complaints from customers.

Chris Ryley and his wife Benice were contacted by the council after a customer anonymously complained about the 15 dolls that hang in the pub.

Golliwog dolls are controversial in the modern age, with their depiction of black people often viewed as racist, although some believe them to be more innocuous.

Chris and his wife have 15 Gollywog dolls behind the bar. Credit: Eastnews Press Agency
Chris and his wife have 15 Gollywog dolls behind the bar. Credit: Eastnews Press Agency

Fifty-nine-year-old Chris doesn't agree with the controversy, telling the Metro: "The head of licensing at the council phoned to tell me a complaint had been made and said the same person had also gone to the police.

"He asked me, would I consider taking them down. I was shocked - I told the council I would think about it, but I cannot see how I have committed an offence, so they are here to stay."

Apparently this isn't the first complaint he has about the dolls either.

Credit: Eastnews Press Agency
Credit: Eastnews Press Agency

He continued: "Since we have had them up behind the bar in the past three years, there has only ever been two complaints.

"One was from a Canadian lady who said, 'Those would not be allowed back in my country.'

"Another was from an English woman who insisted they were racist, despite no one else in the pub agreeing with her, including a black man who was drinking in here at the time.

"It's all about political correctness isn't it? Children can't play conkers anymore or have snowball fights in case they are hurt."

Credit: Eastnews Press Agency
Credit: Eastnews Press Agency

He also added that the pub sometimes provides catering for Indian weddings.

Benice, 56, thinks it is ridiculous too. She said: "At the end of the day, if they are offended by them, they know where the door is".

A spokesperson for Thurrock Council confirmed that a complaint had been made, but added they were unable to comment further because the investigation is ongoing.

The 'Golliwogg' character was originally created by the illustrator Florence Kate Upton in the late 1800s, before being commercially reproduced as soft toys into the 1970s. The dolls have roots in the blackface minstrel tradition, although following changing political attitudes, this is widely thought of as racist nowadays.

Featured Image Credit: Eastnews Press Agency

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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