Born out of a staionery and printing business started by Albert Bunn Johnson in the early 19th century Chad Valley rose to become the largest and most popular toy manufacturer in the United Kingdom. Initially manufacturing a wide range of soft-toys the company expanded into tinplate, cardboard, plastic and rubber and by the early 1960's had acquired and built nine factories employing over 1000 staff. the 1970's saw a dramatic increase in imports of cheap foreign made toys and the fortunes of the company quickly diminshed. By the end of the decade only one factory remained and ownership had transferred many times. In 1988 the ill-fated Woolworth group acquired the trading name and continued to market products until its demise in January 2009. Today the name of Chad Valley is owned and traded by Sainsbury's having aquired the Home Retail Group (owners of Argos and Homebase) in March 2016.