Monday, 14 October 2013

circa 1910 Dolls House...With A Provenance Including Brass Plaque!

Another gorgeous dolls house has come into KT Miniatures and is now up for sale. It is not often a dolls house actually arrives with a written provenance these days but this house did just that! But not only that, this little treasure comes with it's very own engraved brass plaque fantastic is that!?
This brass plaque says it all really, doesn't it? Mr W.E. Hoare of Parkstone in Dorset made this house for his daughter at Christmas in 1910. Mr Griffiths restored this for his wife in 1980.
There are umpteen photos and photocopies of images before and after restoration by Mr Griffiths in 1980. Plus Mrs Griffiths has left a handwritten account of how she bought this house from a junk shop in Boscombe, Bournemouth in the 1970s.....and how in 1980 her husband lovingly restored it and even put electricity into it. The 1980 decor and lights still remain in place but whether the lights still work or not, I don't know.

Mrs Griffiths tells us that when she first got it, it was back opening but because she loved the front so much, she got her husband to put a back on and open up the front instead....which he did!

In the above photo, you can see the interior of the house, as viwed from the front.
When Mr Griffiths opened up the roof in order to get the frontage off,  he was amazed to  find  a handwritten message on the inside back roof panel from Mr Hoare, the maker, stating that he had made the house for his daughter for Christmas in 1910, along with his address....isn't that brilliant! 

So, Mr Griffiths decided that now the roof was open, he may as well make good use of it and created three further rooms but left the central piece loose so that it could be unslotted easily if anyone wanted to read the handwritten message....very clever! It does make me wonder how many other handwritten messages by a doll house maker there are, yet to be discovered hidden inside the fabric of our old dolls houses?
There is no doubt that Mr Griffiths had undertaken the restoration well....however, the 1980s decoration is now very dated and to be honest, this house would look even better if it was stripped down and restored using antique wallpaper and paint effects instead......KT Miniatures have some genuine antique wallpaper available on:

But just look....Mr Griffiths thought of everything!! He very cleverely created four sliding latches on the back panel so that the back wall could be completely removed in seconds...then put back into place if needed, just as easily. 
This is the interior view from the back, which I much prefer than the front interior view, because you can see the beauty of the bay windows from the inside and more importantly the actual staircase.
 In the above photo you can see the stairs as viewed from the back. All the interior doors open and on the landing is a lovely pair of opening doors which lead out onto a front balcony.
The windows are all glazed with real glass and each main central window panel actually opens.
In the lounge is what I believe to be an artisan made wooden fire surround with an over mantle mirror, from 1980. It has been very nicely done.
The kitchen, when viewed from the back, has this beautiful bay window with window seat, which could be made into a real lovely feature.
This is one of the upstairs rooms.....also with a bay window and window seat.
Here is the other upstairs room. Both rooms upstairs have a fireplace from 1980, the year this house was restored.
Finally, this ballustrade at the front is not all there...and like a jigsaw puzzle, I have endeavoured to slot pieces into one long run.....there are other bits of ballustrade still present but not enough to make the run extend to the left hand side. The small bit of ballustrade on the right hand corner is fully intact. However, we understand from Mrs Griffiths that this ballustrade was not actually original to the house but put in by Mr Griffiths.The pieces are not glued in so are easily removed if necessary.

This house has been much loved. Somehow, this charming house found its way back down to Bournemouth many years later after its restoration and was then handed down through another family where it has been much played with - hence now in need of a new home.
Please click on the following link to view full details:


jenann said...

Stunning! I love it. What a beautiful little home, and to have the details of the origins and restoration is so unusual.
The fact that it opens back and front, allowing the staircase to be visible is very special. A big congratulations Mr Griffiths and Mr Hoare for their skill, to you for finding it, Celia, and to the lucky person who buys it! Wish it was me.
Jenni x

Rebecca said...

When you first mentioned a house made by a man called Hoare, I wondered if it might be related to my cupboard house, made into a dolls house by Henry Gerard 'Philip' Hoare of Godstone, Surrey, ca 1900. I know that other members of that Hoare family made dolls houses - but I don't have a W E in their family tree (so far).

I have looked W E Hoare up on the 1911 census - he was William Edward Hoare, aged 33, born in Chard, Somerset - and guess what, he was a joiner! His wife was Rosa, born in Devon, and their daughter was Lilly Irene, aged 4 in 1911.

So this was originally Lilly Irene's doll's house - and it seems to have had more rooms than their real house did, as William has written on the census that their dwelling had 3 rooms (this included the kitchen, but not scullery, landings, bathroom, closet, etc).

I would love to see it when it's been restored - it's beautiful as it is, and will look wonderful with period wallpapers, etc!

KT Miniatures said...

Hi is stunning isn't it....I don't think the photos really do it justice, it does look even more beautiful "in the flesh". Also to have such versatility of being able to have it as a back or front opening is quite something. Celia

KT Miniatures said...

Rebecca...well what can I say? HUGE THANKS for taking the time to find out this info. I must admit I had been thinking what a shame Mr Hoare had not put his daughter's name on the inscription....but how fascinating to now know that the lucky little girl was called Lilly Irene. What a gorgeous name!

There was a Parkstone Toy Factory that made dolls houses, doll furniture etc....(mentioned in Marion Osborne's A-Z Dolls Houses Book). Hmm....I did wonder when I first saw the Parkstone address whether there is a connection, but that was totally a long shot. Thanks again Rebecca. Celia

KT Miniatures said...

Rebecca....this gets more curiouser and curiouser! Spurred on by your info, just looked up as a matter of interest the address of Ashley Road, where Mr Hoare lives and the address of Richmond Road, where Parkstone Toy Factory was listed in a 1915 advert.....the two roads are at right angles to each other!! I still know that this is a huge long shot but wonder if by some weird co-incedence that your Mr Hoare and this Mr Hoare are kind of connected with Parkstone Toy Factory and each other...after all? Celia

Troy said...

It is very neat to see and know a little history about the house. Wouldn't it be great if all houses had a little time capsule with the history and some photos ( miniature and real-size)

Thanks for the post.

jenann said...

We've done that with our real (but teeny)1600s house, Troy. But it is a great idea for dolls' houses too - even new builds may, one day, be sought after antiques and people might want to know their origins.

KT Miniatures said...

What a fabulous idea Troy and Jenni to have a time capsule in both our miniature and life size houses! One of my brother's lived in a 400 year house and found all kinds of everyday objects shoved up a chimney on a ledge...all from different eras and quite random.

My father would always make a habit of writing his name and date in pencil on a bare plaster wall in our house before wallpapering over the top. Such a simple idea but how brilliant that would be if restorers or makers would do that too in dolls houses. Would be such a useful guide for dating.

Jenni...what kind of things have you put in your real life time capsule? Celia

Robin said...

What lovely stories - who said and interest in miniatures was just about little things!

KT Miniatures said...

Hahaha....too right you are Robin! Celia

jenann said...

Hi Celia
Missed your question here. In or time capsule, we put a copy of our mortgage to show the value in 2001, our birth certificates and marriage lines to allow future house history hunters to know who we are and a list of the previous six owner and tenant families and what we knew of them. Then we added a current TV guide, a few coins, photos showing how the house and land look now, two popular types of toy, two mid-price range pieces of china and a current cookery book as a gift to the finder and a description of the work we were carrying out and what we found in the wall as we did it.
Now this is creepy! We found a mumified creature that turned out to be a badger dressed in some cloth rags, the remains of a child's shoe, two horse shoes and a horse skull. Yuk! sort of a 17th century version of The Godfather! Wish I'd got the chance to photograph them, but B was worried by it all. He got rid of it within half an hour. He's American and an ancestor was the only man to be hung as a witch in the Salem thing - he was sure we'd be accused of witchcraft!

KT Miniatures said...

OMG Jenni.......this is absolutely fascinating!!!! I think the idea of your time capsule is so inspiring...maybe something that we could all do wherever we live! (In real life sized houses and our miniature houses). As to the mummified badger...yuk, I like you, would have disposed of it pretty quick. Did it smell? Actually, am not sure but isn't there a thing about in the old days, it was common to put a child's shoe and animal parts in an old house to ward off evil spirits or something? Celia

Rebecca said...

I've just visited this post again and read what Jenni found in the walls of her house - yes, Celia, the practice of putting shoes (especially children's) and animals in walls or under floors was even brought out to Australia by British emigrants! The animals are often cats, but I guess whatever you have! They have been found during renovations of houses from the 19th century and up to the 1910s and 20s (no doubt the practice existed before the 19th century, but we don't have many houses from before then in Australia!) I rather wish you'd been able to photograph them too, Jenni. Why would you have been accused of witchcraft, when you surely weren't living in the house when the items were put there?! (However, with Salem in the background, I can understand his reactions - witch hunting is scary!)