Walt Botley English Ventriloquist Figure Maker

walt botley creations

One of the unsung ventriloquist figure makers from England was Walt Botley. He produced Ventriloquist Figures, Punch and Judy puppets and novelty items too.

His ventriloquist figures were done in paper mache much like the Len Insull figures and had the leather mouth. Botley figures are extremely hard to find today and his figures seem to go unnoticed by the ventriloquist community.

Walt Botley produced figures from the 1950’s through early 1970’s. I do not have exact time frame so if you know more please contact us and let us know.

My good friend Bob Isaacson was kind enough to share with me a wonderful photo showing some of Walt Botley’s creations and I thought I would share this with you.



Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com

Copyright 2012 by Dan Willinger

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This entry was posted in Dummy Collecting, Ventriloquism/Ventriloquist, Ventriloquist Central, Ventriloquist Figure Building, Ventriloquist Figures. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Walt Botley English Ventriloquist Figure Maker

  1. Dave Showler says:

    Good to see this photo,I used to buy lots of my puppet making supply’s paint ,glue & the like from a small hardware shop just along the road from were I lived, one day the lady in the shop asked my what I used my purchases for & I told her for puppet making, she asked is I had heard of Wally Botley.
    It turns out he was close freind of the family that had the store, he kept one Favorite figure in the living room all the time, I think it was called Billy, Mr. Botley passed on a while before I knew of the store owners friendship with him so I never had the chance met him.

  2. Tonya says:

    Knowledge truly is Power…
    I was actually buying a figure that was listed as an Insull w/ glass eyes and right beofre the sale they wrote me and said they were told it probably was made by Walt Botley…
    I couldn’t find anything on him on the internet and being new had no clue where to look for info so… It sold to someone else.

  3. Michael Botley says:

    Its great to see my dads work on the internet .in my dads day he knew nothing about the internet or computers.he started making vent dummies in the early 1950s and got better at as he went on.he made some amazing figures.most he sold ,mostly to order but early days gamages and elistons .he sadly passed away a few years ago.mum still about and his own vent figure still sits on the chair that Dave mentioned.

    • john styles says:

      Hello Michael,
      I do hope that this reaches you.
      Thought that you might be interested to know that I have one of your Dad’s vent dolls – it’s excellent !
      regards, John
      TEL: 020 300 3579

  4. Rachel Laver says:

    I’m the granddaughter of Walter Botley and also a crafter, so admire my grandfathers work enormously. It’s so lovely to see this picture on this page as it’s a picture I’m so familiar with. That doll that still sits on my grandmothers chair is named ‘Jimmy’ . He was always very much part of the family. I remember my grandfathers workshop in the 1980s. It was full of amazing stuff. Remember a BBC microphone ventriloquist doll he made with a face one side and face the other side. Remember lots of stuff drying and hanging from the ceiling. It amazed me how he even made the dolls eyes. I remember how passionate he was about it all. I really think that making these dolls was a great outlet. I gather he went through a horrendous time during ww2, and think maybe making these must if been of great help. Lovely to see him mentioned. He died 11 years ago now sadly but good he still remembered for his work.

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