A market trader will be asked to stop selling ‘Golly doll’ merchandise after a complaint was made to Epping Town Council.

At a meeting last night (December 8), councillors voted to take the move after considering how offensive the design is to many people.

For 18 months the trader had been selling crockery including mugs, teapots and egg cups featuring the dolls, seen by many as a racist caricature of black people.

With the items initially removed from sale ahead of the meeting, the council will now ask the stall-holder to stop selling them permanently.

“I think there is no doubt that Gollies or whatever you call them are a very negative caricature,” said councillor Jon Whitehouse.

“It is not a matter of taste, it is a matter of history and experience and discrimination over time.

“I think that is why people feel so strongly about it.”

Although the dolls were previously considered acceptable things have changed, councillor and deputy mayor Leslie Burrows said.

“Things have moved on, we used to drive without seatbelts, smoke everywhere… it brings into question what kind of town our image is and I would like to be a progressive town.

“There are some things that go beyond the pale and I am on the side of asking him to stop selling them.”

The council stopped short of banning the items outright, after councillors including Tony Church and Alan Smith described it as “an extremely dangerous precedent to set”.

But it was decided to ask the trader to stop selling the items, with councillor Dawn Baird saying: “It has been brought to our attention and it does have racist connotations… whether there was one or 100 complaints we know what the connotations are.”