A pub landlord is determined to keep his Golliwog dolls displayed behind the bar, despite an investigation from the council.

Chris Ryley, who runs the White Hart Pub, in Argent Street, Grays, has had Golliwogs displayed in place for the past three years.

Before now, no complaints had been made to Chris or his wife Benice.

However, they received a notification from Thurrock Council last week informing them a complaint had been lodged about the dolls.

Mr Ryley, 59, said: “We thought about taking them down over the weekend.

“We decided to speak to our customers about it and they all said that we should keep them. So we went with what our customers said.”

The Ryleys said that they had been receiving support from people locally and overseas, with one woman from Canada messaging them telling them to keep the dolls.

Mr Ryley wants to keep them - and does not recognise them as being offensive.

He said: “These are part of our heritage.

“It annoys me that somebody is trying to pull this politically correct stunt.

“This person never came to make a complaint to me or my staff.”

Mrs Ryley, 56, added: “We have people from all different races in here and none of them have complained about the dolls.

“Most of these dolls were given to us by our customers, we only started off with one.”

Golliwogs, characterised by their black skin and frizzy hair, were once a common toy for children but their popularity has since faded owing to the racist connotations.

The Golliwog doll was created by Florence Kate Upton in 1895. Since then, it became a popular cuddly toy and the mascot for Robertson’s Jam.

However, by the 1980s, the toy started disappearing from shop shelves as it was increasingly seen as an offensive lampoon of black people.

One theory of the Golliwog’s origin is that it is named after dolls played with by Egyptian kids whose parents worked under the British Army during the occupation of the country during the late nineteenth century.

The Ryleys have displayed this explanation of their origin behind their bar next to the dolls.

Thurrock Council confirmed it is holding an investigation.

A council spokesman said: “Thurrock Council received a complaint last week about items being displayed in a local pub.

“It is currently being investigated and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”