Former pub owners give police interview after golly dolls collection seized by officers
Two former pub managers have given a voluntary interview to Essex Police after their collection of golly dolls was seized by the officers.
Five uniformed officers removed the offensive dolls from the White Hart Inn in Grays, which has since shut down, following a hate crime allegation.
Essex Police was waiting for landlord Chris Ryley to return from abroad and it confirmed he and wife Benice Ryley were spoken to on Thursday.
Mr Ryley declined to comment.
A police spokesperson said: “Two people, a man and woman, have been interviewed voluntarily as part of our investigation.
“Our investigation continues to progress.”
The police seized the dolls from behind the bar on 4 April and the Campaign for Real Ale removed the pub from its Good Beer Guide the following week.
Mrs Ryley said at the time she had displayed the collection, donated by her late aunt and customers, for nearly 10 years.
The building was vandalised with white paint and had its windows damaged on 16 April - prompting a separate police investigation.
Mrs Ryley closed the pub on 1 May, blaming a boycott by brewing companies and the maintenance firm Innserve.
Heineken and Carlsberg both told the couple to stop serving its lager, with Heineken labelling the collection as an “abhorrent display”.
Admirals Taverns, the company that owned the pub building, said it planned to reopen the venue under new management.
The dolls are thought to date back to the minstrel entertainment shows, when typically white actors painted their faces black and depicted negative stereotypes of black people.
It became a fictional character that appeared in books from Florence Kate Upton in the late 19th Century.