Tuesday, 26 June 2012

How it all began

I suppose it began with the Christmas just before my fourth birthday, nearly seventy years ago.   Although it was just after the war had ended, and there were few toys in the shops, my father commissioned someone to make me a dolls house - standard design, front opening, four rooms inside including a proper staircase and fully furnished, with soft furnishings made by my mother.   
It was my favourite toy and I was devastated when it disappeared just before my eighth birthday.

It came back in a new incarnation, repainted,  with the roof gone, two extra rooms at the top, balconies and a fabulous roof garden.  I was thrilled and the house always had pride of place in my bedroom

Years passed, I left home, became estranged from my mother for a while, and when we became friends again I was horrified to discover she had given the house away to the granddaughter of a friend.   I tried frantically to locate it but by then it had passed into other hands and I never found it.

Part of my collection before it ended up in the garage.
 Daughter's house is the white one bottom centre.
I suppose you could say that I have been looking for it ever since and when my own daughter was four I decided that it was time to find a house for her.   Nothing in the shops pleased me so I advertised in the local paper for a large old dolls house, condition immaterial.   I ended up with four large old dolls houses, none of which went to my daughter - she ended up with a very plain one, as close to my childhood dolls house as I could find (though I always felt the roof was on the wrong way round) - and that's where the collection started, forty years ago.   At the last count, which was some time ago, it appeared that I own about thirty houses and forty more miniature items such as shops, market stalls, creations in unusual containers and a substantial library of dolls house books and magazines.

At the moment I can't actually check the numbers because most of the collection, with the exception of a few particularly cherished houses, has been in storage in the garage for over ten years. This blog aims to chart the journey as it comes to life again and moves to a small museum in a village in the Czech Republic where I now make my home for part of each year.

Next time -  stage two of the museum adventure.....


  1. I'll look forward to following this adventure. I adored my dolls house, but my mother decided I was too old for it and gave it away without asking me....so like you, I made sure my daughter had one, which is safe here till she has a daughter!

  2. I had a dolls house...and I have no idea what happened to it. I don't know how old I was when I got it - I'm pretty sure it wasn't new - was it from a friend/colleague of my father's? The outside walls were covered in brick-effect paper, which I found very pleasing and it had a garage with green doors which secured with a little hook. It had electric light and wallpaper. My great sorrow was the light switch (just one, in the hall) which, although not large in the grand scheme of things, was All Wrong in the house - the inhabitants would have had to hurl themselves up and grasp it with both hands, using their weight to pull it down in order to illuminate their home. Another matter of some grievance (in thought only - I was not a Spoiled Child) was the floor covering. In those days (1950s/early 60s) tiny samples of carpet were available from floor-covering emporia. My father obatined several of these to carpet my house throughout. So kindly meant but So Wrong - too thick, for a start and didn't fit, so they skidded around and the inhabitants were prone to falling off the carpet in a most tragic fashion. I don't remember much about the people - perhaps they were only imaginary as I have no recall of figures small enough...I too have a love of things miniature and have pften pondered the psychological significance...Looking forward to episode 2. AMS

    1. Nice to hear you are both looking forward to the journey - so am I!

      Ah yes, the need for the scale to be correct - good to see it in someone so young :-) It is sadly lacking in many dolls houses, particularly the antique ones. I may discourse on this in a later post.....

      I love the picture of the tiny (possibly only imaginary) people leaping into the air to turn the lights on and off.....

      I wonder if yours was a Triang house - they usually came with garages. I think it would be quite unusual for a home-made house to have a garage. There's a tiny bit of a Triang just visible on the left of the photo of the collection. It's cream but yours might have been repapered.

  3. I read this a couple of days ago at work, but couldn't comment... I love the pictures of your dolls' houses; they are so gorgeous!

  4. I loved the blog... keep it coming

  5. Love the look of this! Looking forward to it all! Kathryn B