I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to branded toys and games that I remember from my childhood. The Tetley Tea Folk were all over the place when I was a child. Numerous TV adverts and also pieces of tea related memorabilia. I was therefore thrilled to find a double sided jigsaw featuring them when B and I were at a car boot sale earlier in the year.
From a bit of internet research I think this jigsaw came out in about 1989, and customers had a choice of two different jigsaws. One was shaped like a tea pot and features a cut away of the inside of the Tea Folk’s house with them all going about various tasks.
The second jigsaw is cup and saucer shaped , and this time the Tea Folk are outside in the garden. The Gaffer is making everyone a cup of tea, whilst others are gardening, playing, or trying to get to grips (unsuccessfully!) with a skipping rope in Sydney’s case!
The reverse of the jigsaws features a historical Tetley Tea scene – either a woman behind a tea counter, or two men next to a Tetley’s Teas delivery vehicle. Both these pictures are sepia in colour.
When we bought this set, we had absolutely no idea which jigsaw was inside. It wasn’t until I spread out the pieces and started to look at them that I figured out we had the cup and saucer shaped garden scene.
The jigsaw itself is absolutely huge. Far bigger than I was expecting when I got it out of the box. And also quite tricky as it’s so large. The shape of it doesn’t help much either – with rounded edges and a cut away bit for the handle of the tea cup. This gap for the handle is done slightly strangely. There are pieces with just a white section on which can be put in place where the handle space is, but you can also take them out too.
It’s lovely to see the Tetley Tea Folk back together. They first appeared in the early 1980s and hung around until 2001, when they were dramatically axed. Unsurprisingly, by 2002 Tetley’s sales had fallen as a result. After nearly ten years though they were spotted during an ad break in the middle of Coronation Street, waking up from a decade long sleep.
There are a few other details in the picture that are worth note. As well as loving the Gaffer pouring out the tea for the impressive afternoon tea I am left wondering why there is only one tea cup to be seen!
I also love the fact that you have a very English scene in the picture, yet rather than a traditional English village church spire or steeple you instead have a very modern triangular erection. With a tea pot on top!