Walt "Wally" Botley

Renowned Figure Maker And Ventriloquist


Michael Botley - Son of Walt "Wally" Botley



Rachel Laver - Grand Daughter of Walt "Wally" Botley

Rachel is an Artist and is the Owner of "Fairy Button Cottage" where she produces unique button artwork.

I'm Rachel Laver, grandaughter of Walter Botley. My dad Micheal Botley is his son. 
My grandad died in 2004 he was 85, so he hasnt been around for a while. 
I'm 39 so most of my memories are from the 80s really. He was quite a character. He used to make us laugh. 

My grandad was a carpenter after the war. I know he was in Dunkirk (and saw some terrible things) so I guess this may have been an outlet. 

My knowledge of how he came to sell them is limited. My dad knows this. I understand he sold to gammages ( a toy store in London) and know some of his work was sold to the bbc. 

Think in the 70s he did some children's shows. I remember in the 80s going to punch and Judy conventions with the whole family. 

My grandmother is in her 90s and is still going strong. Jimmy ( doll) still sits in an armchair. He really was and is part of the family. He is in wonderful condition.

My grandad also made ships in bottles. They are ornate, with cliffs and little houses on the cliffs plus working lighthouses. He was very talented. I'm very artistic myself but nothing like him. 

One thing I do remember about going to my grandparents is that my grandad had always made something new and was keen to show it to us. I remember a seagull specifically. Was just brilliant.  I loved seeing it all. 

My grandad had such a bad childhood that think he was always seeking approval. Of course I loved seeing it all and is probably the reason I appreciate arts and crafts so much. I make cheerful little pictures out of buttons and beads. Have my own facebook page. (Fairy Button Cottage)

My memories of him are doing silly dancing. He was known as 'wally' by family. My mum always used to say Wally by name and nature. Will ask my mum her memories of him too. 

One more thing, my dad said he used to get quite embarrassed when he was a child, because my grandad would dry his work by hanging it from the washing line, so when dads friends came round there were limbs hanging on the line in the garden. Quite a funny thought! 

Rachel Laver (maiden name Botley) xx