Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

'Noah's Ark Syndrome' - the legacy of a ‘Cold War’ childhood? by Janet Mansbridge


I would be the first to concede that nearly every dolls’ house in my collection might be considered somewhat ‘over populated’.  I can never resist the temptation to squeeze in ‘just one more’ baby or rescue some lost or lonely looking doll, taking real pleasure in providing it with a ‘forever home’.


My daughter calls this ’Noah’s Ark syndrome’ - a desire to offer shelter and security in an uncertain world. This is interesting.  I grew up in the 1960s when a state of “ Cold War”, or extreme tension, existed between the USA and the then USSR, meaning that the threat of nuclear war hung cloud-like over my childhood.  As a way of dealing with this, I created a fantasy nuclear bunker which existed behind my bedroom wall.  Every night, between the ages of about 9 and 11, before I went to sleep I would ‘melt’ into the wall and emerge in a large house with many rooms - enough to house everyone dear to me - cousins, aunts, uncles, as well as my immediate family. In the 1960s advertising had already begun to make an impact and my nuclear bunker also contained a playroom furnished with every toy then available - a foreshadowing of the crowded nurseries that I love to create in my dolls’ houses nearly 50 years later!


Three generations are grouped in this Regency setting.


This early Victorian setting depicts the nursery at  'Down House' and includes some of the 10 children belonging to Charles and Emma Darwin.  

  It is Christmas Day in this late Victorian nursery.

The nursery in this Triang 'Stockbroker' has the latest technology available in the late 1920s!

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