As a child I grew up in a house that always had a dollhouse.
My Grandfather was a master woodworker who built toys for my Mother and her siblings and then for his grandchildren.
We not only had dollhouses but we had forts, castles, car garages and the like.
My Grandmother would help me make furniture out of whatever was available. I remember making little chests of drawers from matchboxes and using brass pins for handles. We even made a pram with working wheels from card.
We made dolls from the old fashioned clothes pegs and dressed them in scraps. She even taught me how to knit small garments using fine wool and cocktail sticks as knitting needles.
My Moms dollhouse was huge and extremely detailed. It sat in the spare bedroom at my grandparent’s house and, although I wasn’t allowed to play with that until I was old enough to not break it, I was allowed to look at it and spent many a Saturday afternoon doing just that. All of the windows opened and had tiny latches, there was a secret cupboard under the stairs and it even had a rooftop garden.
It is packed away in her attic back in England but one day I’ll get it out and restore it.
My other grandfather was more mechanically minded and built us all kinds of gadgets including tiny music boxes that I used in my dollhouse.
My other Grandmother taught us to make miniature gardens. We’d take a tray, fill it with soil and plant tiny plants in it.
We would often visit the model village at Bourton on the Water which was a scale replica of the village itself and still stands today. It was one of my favorite places to see as a child and I can remember when those buildings were bigger than I was.
You can read more about it here.
Then one day I was taken to see Titania’s Palace, an 18 room dollhouse hand-built by Sir Neville Wilkinson over a period of 15 years.
I was totally captivated & 30 plus years later I can still vividly remember many of the tiny details.
I have since seen many, many dollhouses but none came even close to this masterpiece.
It is now on display at Legoland in Denmark but hopefully one day I’ll get a chance to visit it again.
This is a short video clip that shows you around the house. It isn’t in English but there are subtitles, and even without narration it is well worth watching.
And so here began my lifelong passion for all things tiny.