Thursday, 31 May 2012

Where dolls come from

Last week I spotted a perfect doll's house in a dimly-lit shop window. It was real down to the tiny brass knocker on the doll-sized front door.

The shop had no sign up, and no indication of its purpose apart from a hand-written note on the door declaring it to be "a toy collection, not a toy shop".

Intrigued and possessing of few manners, I barged in.

Down the rabbit hole. 
Inside I found a fairy godmother towering over a miniature floor-to-ceiling kingdom of dolls' houses and related paraphernalia. Everything in her magical world was intricately non-standard, from the wonky chimney pots to the tiny jars of rainbow sweets.

I asked the landlady of wonderland where such amazing things as this came from, and she whispered that her collection had been forty years in the making. 

Her collection, I discovered, is an entire house of dolls' houses - room upon wondrous room. The dolls' houses are chock full of the stuff of miniature life - light fixtures, plumbing, and sumptuous dinners that won't come unstuck from perfect porcelain plates.

No two houses are the same, but one is more special than the others: the one arranged by the landlady's favourite little farm boy, decades ago. The boy is grown, but there are still wooden cats napping in the kitchen of his house, and plaster ducks socializing under a grand chandelier in the loo.

Fake plastic tea. 
Why a grand chandelier in the loo? The boy wanted to look at it while he took his bath. And why ducks? They are waiting for the boy to return for his bath under the grand chandelier - they want to play in the puddles that form on the floor as he splashes about.

You may not have realized that fake plaster ducks had so much patience. Neither did I. There's a lot us grown-ups don't know about fake plastic ducks.

This magical toy collection is absolutely real, but I can't tell you how to find it. Rather than advertise, the landlady of wonderland waits for all those who truly believe to find her. 

So should you ever find yourself in Kentish Town, follow the second star to the right and carry straight on till morning. You may meet the two bad mice along the way.


  1. Wow. A true destination for Two Bad Mice*. That you have found your way to this wonderful place surprises me not one jot.

    *current favourite in this house along with that naughty Miss Moppet.

  2. It is about the coolest place ever, ever. I'll point you to it, if you are ever in London - I think Bibsey would love it.

  3. Dollhouses have a magic all their own, and always with their own distinctive flavor! What a find!

  4. Y'know, they are almost creepily alive, aren't they???

  5. Bavarian Sojourn1 June 2012 at 09:17

    What a magical post! If I am ever in that area, I will indeed seek it out! I used to love our dolls house as a child. It had been my mother's when she was little and my grandfather built it. It even had working lights which we loved... Many a dolls house disco was held I can tell you :)

  6. Dolls house disco - genius! Must attend one of those someday....homemade dolls houses are the very best ones of all.

  7. There's something a little bit creepy about an old lady dedicating her life to dolls houses. Maybe it's something that happens when we reach a certain age, like becoming interested in cricket.

  8. If an interest in cricket is age-related, then I am feeling positively youthful! Thanks for stopping by :)