Thursday, 23 April 2009

Well.....what a surpise I had

Browsing though some blogs the other day I came across Susan's Mini Homes

Susan was asking about a house she had purchased from a thrift store called the Stockbroker Tudor dollhouse and was asking if anyone knew of this house and it's history.

Well, you can imagine the shock I had when I saw the photo and realized that this was the house I grew up in back in Birmingham,England.

After, getting over my initial shock I started to read the description and look at the interior photos.

Not only was the exterior identical but also the interior. The layout, the alcoves in the living room, the tiny kitchen and third bedroom and even the coal cellar under the stairs.

I'll admit it was a rather spooky experience....I've not thought of this house in years and all of a sudden there was.... an exact 12th scale replica of it right in front of my eyes.

Mick and I literally grew up around the corner from each other so he is familiar with the house as well. When I showed him he was amazed. I even called my Mom in England to tell her to go look at Susan's blog.

I have permission from Susan to repost her photos here and went onto google street view to get pictures of my house. Unfortunately I have none of the interior of my house but trust me when I say it was identical to this dollhouse.

My old house has been renovated a lot since I lived there. They have added a porch, new windows and an extension so I scooted down the street to find a photo of the same style house that had been altered less.

This is the front of Susan's dollhouse.

This is the real house.

How strange is that huh !

My 'real' house had the more squared bay windows and the curved brick on the porch entryway but as I mentioned, my house has changed too much to see it as it was then.

The 6 small windows at the top of the bays opened and were originally stained glass.

Susan mentions how tiny the third bedroom was...and it was indeed...this was my bedroom. As the eldest I got my own room and my brothers had to share the larger back bedroom. The box room, as it was known, was probably little more than 8ft squared .

Susan also mentioned a small cupboard under the stairs, with no access from inside the house. This 'cubbyhole' as we called it, with it's outside door was where the coal was kept.

Once we moved onto gas fires, many people, including my parents, added an interior door to this cupboard as well. It was where we kept the vacuum, coats etc. It was also a great place for sneaking in and out place as we still had the outside door :-) You can see it was a decent size.

The living room would have originally been 2 rooms separated by a solid wall. Each room having it's own fireplace and alcoves.

It was common for people to knock these 2 rooms though into one larger room as is shown here.

there would have been a door at the front right of the picture that led into the hallway and opened just in front of the kitchen.

You can see the bookcase in the center alcove. When this was still 2 rooms the alcove would have been half this size and half was in each room. Once knocked through it was common for people to build bookshelves into it. Even down to the 1970's style sliding bottom doors and teak wood color.

The small inset porch had small alcove either side...this would be where the milkman left the milk, eggs and butter and the pop man left the pop.

Many people have now either added modern porches or added doors.

The step was made from red brick just like this is and one of the earliest chores I remember having was polishing this step with something similar to shoe polish...obviously some kind of red wax

This is the back of the house.

The small window on the top right was my bedroom.

My brothers room was the larger upstairs window.

e bathroom was the other small room at the front of the house.

The lower right is the kitchen and the lower left was the dining room. This had windows and a central opening French door.

So.... how about that then. How would you feel if you saw a dollhouse that was the replica of your childhood home ? I have to confess it was rather a strange feeling.

If anyone knows anything about this house please let us know. I am convinced that, although it was found in a thrift store in Canada, it came from England originally. Who knows, perhaps someone had a woodworker for a Grandad like I did and he built this for one if his grandchildren. Wouldn't it be fascinating to find out the history and where it came from.

Susan, you are one very lucky lady, I would give anything to have this house but I know it is unlikely I'll ever find one. If you would like to see more homes of this style, go to Google maps, look up Jayshaw Avenue, Great Barr, Birmingham B43 and go to street view. You can meander up and down the street and see more.

Thanks so much for sharing Susan and for kindly allowing me to post about it over here.


  1. Rather spooky indeed but fascinating. It must have been a weird feeling.

  2. Jayne,
    I think this is just the most amazing and coolest thing ever! I think I would be shocked as much as you were- but how cool to see it- if not for blogging and the internet you may have never known a mini version of your childhood home existed. What a fascinating thing for Susan also- I think the house would mean more to me after I had heard your memories about the real counterpart. Sometimes the world seems such a magical place :)

  3. Thanks so much for this post. I am amazed that my dollhouse is identical to your childhood home. Your descriptions are wonderful. The coal bin under the stairs was a mystery to me until you explained it. I couldn't figure out why it had no door into the house. Your explanation of the bookshelves in the living room makes me see how this dollhouse must have been copied from a real home.
    No wonder you got a strange feeling when you saw it. I was experiencing an other-worldly tingle as I read your story.
    I like to think that this dollhouse was lovingly made by a skilled grandfather in England to give his grandchildren when they emigrated to Canada. He made it so professionally and so beautifully that they could never forget their fist home. I can't imagine how anyone could give it up.

    I would love to hear more.


  4. made me cry...i think it was just such a shock...that and my pesky hormones :-)

    No Kim, I would never have know. I am just so grateful I stumbled across it. Amazing coincidence.

    Susan...I can' understand how anyone gave it up either....but lucky for you they did.

    I'll ask my Mom if she has any old interior photos laying about.

    If you need to know anything else just ask...I lived there till I was 14 so can remember quite a bit about it.

    Oh and you have to put a larger than life size poster of Elvis up on the wall in the small bedroom :-)

  5. How truly amazing...and spooky! What an awesome dollhouse and a wonderful real house to have lived in too.

  6. Jayne that Polish you spoke about to clean the tiles was called Cardinal.(Cardinal Red) I can remember my nan polishing her tiles with it..

  7. Jayne You really should have Twilight Zone theme music playing with this post! It's astonishing that you and Susan would end up on the same blogsite with such a wonderful house to share. I just loves serendipitous stories like this. :-)

  8. Debbie...that was it...thanks. I'd never have remembered that on my own. It looks like it isn't available any longer...I was almost tempted to buy some so I could smell ti again...I recall loving the smell :-)

    Indeed Patti....t'was meant to be don't ya think !

  9. Oh my goodness, that is so exciting and amazing!!! Wonderful that you saw her photos. I'm so pleased you shared it with us too. Life is strange. John's mom bought us a used wooden play pen for our first son and when the lady delivered it she said she had lived in the house where we were living and had used the playpen in our house. Maybe wood has special communication properties. So great to hear you describe the rooms and everything!

  10. oh wow Jean...that is just as very funny that the playpen came back home.

  11. Jayne, it is amazing that you remember with all that detail about this house. I am not so sure I can, just some snapshots, not like this. You even remembered bookshelves and coal cubbyholes! That house must have been real special.

  12. Special...nah not at all :-)

    I just lived there a long, long time, probably from when I was about 5 ish till I was almost 15.

    Plus, I was born in the same street a few houses down, lived another year or so at another house in this street a few houses up, my Nan and Grandad lived in this street andeven after I left many of my friends lived in this street. So I have been in plenty of this type of house.

  13. This was so fascinating to read about and I loved looking at all the pics.
    Its an amazing coincidence Jayne but it was really touching to read. I found myself reminiscing alongside you especially when you mentioned that red cardinal polish !
    julie xxx

  14. Jane, I havnt seen this house before, the 'Stockbroker' is easily googled its by triang and this isnt the design so unless it is a different company that produced a house of the same name I would say this was a one off built to replicate someones actual home, making it even more special!
    I am rediculously sentimental of houses. My home from when I was little until we had to leave when my parents split up at about 15, is now only a 15 minuite drive from where we live and I have been known to just drive and sit outside it and relive old times like a complete crazy person sitting outside these peoples home! John often says to me if they were to come out and ask what i was doing would I ask to go in, but I like to remember it as it was, the window seat in my bedroom, the loud swirly carpets, olfd fashioned kitchen etc, all the things that bring back my childhood memories. Looking at it now it has all the modern fixtures and it wouldnt be the same. But , God if someone had ever made a dollshouse of that home, I would HAVE to have it! I certainly could never afford to live in that house for real, way out of our budget but if I could just have a dollshouse version I would be in heaven and able to relive those memories every day! I think if I had come across such a dollshouse I would have cried buckets had it been me!! lol Kate and John xx

  15. This is such a fantastic and moving story! I can't imagine how I would have felt, but no wonder you cried a bit. The dollhouse is amazing and so great to hear all your memories from your childhood home! It really makes the dollhouse come to life.
    I laughed out loud when you mentioned the Elvis poster!

  16. Hi Jayne. I'm a bit late but what a lovely story.
    I came accross this blog too and did a double take for a few seconds.
    For a short moment it looked like my mums house but then when i looked properly it was a little different and a little bigger. I love these types of houses and go in them all the time when i visit my family in the north of england. There are one or two near me here in essex but i never really see them down south at all.
    Its also nice for the person that own the miniature house because they can find out a little bit more info.
    Nikki x

  17. Isn't that a great story about the playpen jean day bought. Quite strange the world at times and almost like things are meant to happen.

  18. Hi all

    Sorry I'm a bit slow :-)

    Julie, it is funny I can still smell that polish...guess I did that chore a lot !

    Kate...I found the Triang one as well but it isn't the same. Shame, I'd love this house :-(

    I was offered to visit one of my old homes once...I ran a temp agency and a girl came in for a job and she lived where I had. She invited me over but to be honest, Mick and I lived there and split up there. Even though that was almost 20 years before I couldn't bear to go back there...good memories but too many bad ones too.

    And I have to admit my tears over this dollhouse are almost akin to a toddlers tantrum when she can't get what she wants :-)

    Yes Pubdoll I had a huge Elvis poster...I think my Mom is Elvis' most dedicated fan so it rubbed off on me.

    Nikki my house was in Birmingham and it was a very common design there. I never really paid that much attention to other houses I guess back then to think it was different from the rest of the country or not.

    I recall that the old Coronation St type terraces were common all over.

    Now, has anyone got a replica of my Nan's thatched cottage in Pershore please :-)


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