Brandreth Bears at Newby Hall
In 1988 Gyles and Michele Brandreth opened the award-winning Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon. In 2016, at the invitation of Rick and Lucinda Compton, the Brandreth Bears moved to their new, permanent home in the specially-created Bear House at Newby Hall, near Ripon in North Yorkshire.
The Brandreth Bear Collection includes Fozzie Bear (given to Gyles personally by the Muppets' creator, Jim Henson), Harry Corbett's Sooty, the Paddington Bear who starred in the original 1960s TV series (voiced by Michael Hordern) together with his furniture (a present from Paddington's creator, Michael Bond), the original Pudsey Bear, Winnie-the-Pooh (who has to have his face to the wall because the real Christopher Robin didn't approve his smile!), Dame Barbara Cartland's teddy bear ('The Prince of Love'), Dame Judi Dench's bear, Steiff bears, Hermann bears, big bears, small bears - bears by the hundred. Come visit them at http://www.newbyhall.com/teddy-bear-exhibition/
Soon after Gyles Brandreth founded the National Scrabble Championships in 1971, someone gave him a jumper featuring a Scrabble board as part of its design. Gyles wore the jumper on TV and quickly realised that on TV what you wear gets more attention than what you say. Through the 1970s and 1980s he wore more than a thousand different jumpers on TV, many of them designed by George Hostler (1939-2018), who also designed knitwear for Diana, Princess of Wales, and Elton John.
When Gyles went into politics in the 1990s, he stopped wearing the jumpers, but all these years later people still remember them. Over the years, he has auctioned scores of them for charity, but he still keeps a few favourites hidden in the basement. In the 1980s he was a director of the New for Knitting hand-wool shops and published several books of knitting patterns. In 2014, with his daughter Saethryd, he published Novelty Knits, a collection of thirty-five of his favourite jumpers, modelled by family and friends.