A ROW over whether a golliwog in a Saltaire shop window causes offence to visitors to the World Heritage Site has ended with the controversial knitted character being removed from view.

Speech therapist Susie Lloyd was shocked to see the black woollen doll in the display window of The Saltaire Vintage shop on Victoria Road, which she believes could have upset many visitors to the historic village.

And the mum-of-two, who has lived in Saltaire for ten years, decided to ask the shopkeeper to remove the golliwog.

"I went in and very politely explained that I didn't think she should be selling it as it is well known to be a racist and offensive toy," Mrs Lloyd said.

"I said 'how would you feel about a young black child seeing that in the window?'

"Like everyone who lives here I'm proud of Saltaire, it's a multicultural area and I think that's the sort of thing that could make people feel uncomfortable at the very least."

The shopkeeper denied it was racist and asked Mrs Lloyd to leave if she did not like what was on sale.

"I wasn't ranting or anything and some people might say it's an historical item - but then the Nazis made anti-jewish items and you wouldn't expect them to be on sale.

"Some people might say this is a small thing, but small things all add up," said Mrs Lloyd.

Lesley Barrett shares the running of Saltaire Vintage Shop with two other women and on Friday said it was a colleague who put the doll in the window only days earlier and who also spoke with Mrs Lloyd.

"There is certainly no question of the doll being a racist item," she said.

"It had only been out for a few days and we had lots of people coming in, 'oohing' and 'aahing' over it and reminiscing - no other negative comments.

"She's a pretty old doll and we've had people saying how they had one just like that.

"Everything we sell is genuine vintage and nothing is reproductions and we just sell whatever we come across.

"To say take it down is a type of censorship - gollies are still being made and for example there are lots for sale on Ebay."

Ms Barrett acknowledged that the doll could be used in a racist way, but said: "People throw bananas onto football pitches in a racist way, but that doesn't make the banana itself a racist item.

"However, if we did get a lot of complaints about it, then the doll would be removed."

And indeed by Friday evening the doll had been taken away with a statement from the shop that no offence had ever been intended.

Saltaire traders spokesman David Ford, of the Bookshop, said modern sensitivities sometimes caused issues for vintage retailers.

"If we start saying such things shouldn't be seen, then we start wiping out history.

"I personally wouldn't censor such things and I'm sure there isn't an ounce of racism involved.

"My shop has books from the 19th and 20th centuries which would not be judged suitable today - but they are important social documents.

"It's a very interesting subject for discussion," Mr Ford said.