A pub landlord is refusing to take down his golly collection despite complaints from guests.
Chris Ryley, who with wife Benice runs the White Hart in Grays, Essex, has a number of the dolls on display behind the bar.
Chris, 59, was contacted by the local council after an anonymous customer complained.
But Chris said he was shocked by the request to take them down.
He said: “The head of licensing at the council phoned to tell me a complaint had been made and said the same person had also gone to the police.
“He asked me, ‘would I consider taking them down?’ I was shocked – I told the council I would think about it, but I cannot see how I have committed an offence, so they are here to stay.”
Golly dolls are based on a 19th century character created by Florence Kate Upton.
Although they were deemed comical by many at the time, today they are considered a racist caricature. There are few who would dispute the fact.
Upton’s character was portrayed in literature as a ‘blackface minstrel’ – a white person who had painted their face black.
The dolls have exaggerated frizzy hair and wear bright pink lipstick.
But Chris and Benice are holding firm, however, and say “there have only ever been two complaints” made in the pub.
“One was from a Canadian lady who said ‘those would not be allowed back in my country’,” Chris added.
“And another was from an English woman who insisted they were racist, despite no one else in the pub agreeing with her, including a black man who was drinking in here at the time.
“It’s all about political correctness, isn’t it? Children can’t play conkers anymore or have snowball fights in case they are hurt.”
Benice, 56, also insists the dolls are without problems.
She said: “At the end of the day, if they are offended by them, they know where the door is.”
A spokesman for Thurrock Council confirmed that an investigation had been launched, but could not comment any further.
“Thurrock Council received a complaint last week, Thursday, about items being displayed in a local pub,” a spokeswoman said.
“It is currently being investigated and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”