BLACKPOOL mum-of-one Margaret Madden never had a Barbie doll as a child.
She longed for one and used to spend hours admiring them in toy shop windows in Blackpool, but they were always out of reach.
Now 49, Margaret has certainly made up for it!
Margaret, from Marton, has a collection of more than 70 of the iconic Mattel toys.
And she has just loaned 40 of her pride and joys to a special exhibition at Brooks Collectables first floor museum, on Waterloo Road, South Shore.
She said: “I’ve got a whole range of dolls – celebrity-wise I have Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, in that red dress.
“I have the Spice Girls and Britney Spears, but most of my collection is made up of vintage Barbies.
“I have all the outfits and some contemporary collectables as well.
“When I was a child, I always wanted a Barbie. I only had Sindy because that’s all we could get in the catalogue, and Barbie was a bit expensive. When I was about 10 or 11, my mum and sister went into town, to get me a doll for my birthday. I really wanted a Barbie, but they bought me Skipper – her younger sister and it really wasn’t the same. Then quite a few years ago, I was with a friend who had a little jewellery box, which was like a chaise longue and I remarked it just needed a beautiful Barbie to place on it.
“We decided to look on eBay and that was it really – my collection started.
“I’ve bought more and more over the years, and all the little outfits to go with them.
“I get things online and also charity shops – I always have my eye out for a bargain.
“Sometimes I will buy a doll cheaply from a charity shop, just because I want the outfit.”
Margaret says she loves the glamour associated with the doll, which was first launched in 1959.
“I just think she is so beautiful. I love the way the dolls are so glamorous and you can buy all the different outfits.
“I love the level of detail. Especially on the earlier dolls, the outfits were of such great quality. I love the way all the outfits have tiny poppers and tiny buttons and pockets.
“I love the fashions. And I love the way Barbie has changed over the years – the way she has moved with the times and become updated.”
Margaret, who has a son Jeff, 12, who collects Dr Who figures, says she finds it difficult to pick her favourite doll.
She said: “It’s hard to say which is my favourite. I really like the ones with the swirl ponytail – I’ve always loved those from when I was about 12 or 13.
“I have one Barbie, it’s more a collectable really, which isn’t made from the usual material. It’s more like a porcelain doll, and it’s absolutely beautiful.
“I also have another one, with electric blue hair. She has opposable elbows and hands, so I have placed her in a balletic pose. I always thought if I was a Barbie, then that would be me.”
The first floor exhibition is open daily until the end of October. Also on display is a doll house, designed and furnished by another local resident and a large model railway.
For more details about the exhibition, call (01253) 344478.