OUR STORY

Bears to treasure forever

Who are we …

Canterbury Bears was founded in 1979 by my father, British painter John Blackburn and almost 40 years later, my mother Maude and I head up our business. Together with a truly dedicated team we design and create beautiful hand-made English bears.

The company was originally created in response to a friend searching for a traditional bear for his grandmother, and he commissioned John to design and make one … the rest is history. Our unique bears continue to occupy a special place in the hearts of children and adults around the world. Bears are our passion, but other animals also add to the magic of what we do.


Family Business

In 2016 John Blackburn was awarded an MBE for services to manufacturing and export in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

Starting from such small beginnings with John and Maude designing and making all the bears at home, using outworkers for the sewing, Canterbury Bears has for more than forty years grown in stature, working with iconic brands across the globe, making bears for the British Royal Family and US Presidents but most importantly for families worldwide who treasure their Canterbury Bears.

Where are we …

All our creations are designed and made in our workshops, situated in a small village close to the historic Cathedral City of Canterbury in Kent. The unwavering ethos of our family business is that we are 100% designed and handmade in England. In 1987 we were granted the privilege of using the City of Canterbury coat of arms as our logo; this ancient marque is registered by the Garter King of Arms and dates from the 11th Century.

Why our bears are so special …

We know that every bear occupies a special place in the heart of their owner. We ensure that each and every one of our bears, and other animal friends, is truly individual.

Our makers love what they do and between us we have over 200 years of bear-making experience. When you buy from Canterbury Bears, we guarantee your purchase has been made with love by an experienced and dedicated team here in the heart of the English countryside.

Our bears, and their animal friends, are made to the very highest environmental standards, both in terms of materials and the way we run our workshop.  To find out more visit our Sustainability page .

Kerstin Blackburn
Managing Director