A couple of months ago I had no idea of its existence. When my cousin was making a start on clearing my aunt’s house, my Mum suddenly thought to enquire as to whether the dolls’ house was still upstairs. If so, she would like to give it a home!
Their father, Alf George, had made the house for them in the early thirties. He had no shed where they lived in Croydon, but Mum recalls that he would sit in the kitchen with his fret saw making things. He was obviously quite a creative man – we have other evidence in the form of miniature paintings and poems.
The dolls’ house he made for his daughters was modelled on Steyning Lodge in West Grinstead, Sussex, where his wife (my Granny) had lived prior to their marriage. He made wooden furniture for the house, too.
On investigation it turned out that the dolls’ house was indeed still there, on top of a wardrobe, and on a recent visit it was duly retrieved and taken back to Mum’s house, where we have all now had a chance to inspect it. I’m amazed, really, that a) I had never known of its existence and b) it survived another generation of children playing with it. It is remarkably intact. There are still items of wooden furniture, floor and wall coverings and some little curtains which, as Mum said, had “seen better days”. She promptly set about making some fresh curtains.
On the front of the house Grandad had painted a climbing plant and on the rear of the house, along with a well, is the image of Tubby the cat. Mum caused us much amusement when she recalled having been told off by her Mum for standing on the house! She must have been very small at the time.
She remembered other items of furniture, some of which I definitely had in my own dolls’s house. When Mum visited at Easter I dug out a box which I thought could contain dolls’ house furniture. We didn’t find what we were looking for, but Mum suddenly exclaimed “oh, it’s the Doctor!”. It turned out that this wasn’t a new-found interest in the Time Lord, but that she had spotted a china doll which she had had as a child and which they called The Doctor, apparently because ‘he’ looked a bit upright and stern! (This doll has always worn a dress to my knowledge). She also found a few metal kitchen items which had been part of a kitchen range set. So these, and the Doctor, went home with Mum and are now inside the dolls’ house. The hunt will continue for any other original items which could join them.