Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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Isle of Wight – Travel report of a miniaturist from Germany by diepuppenstubensammlerin

 While on holiday on the Isle of Wight* in the south of England, I spent a happy hour in Godshill – what a perfect name! – an old village, well preserved. But it was much more fun to visit it in its miniature edition, yes, a local family started the project in its back garden more than 50 years ago, first building the village church en miniature and then by and by the whole village and parts of the famous neighbourhood, all set in the 20s and 30s of the last century. Over the years they developed an admirable skill in miniature gardening and miniature building and received a lot of praise and awards.


Their website informs us: "Hidden behind the walls of the Old Vicarage, our grounds extend for 1¼ acres. You will find them crammed full of shrubs and conifers.

You will see thousands of shrubs & conifers setting off our models, many treated with "Coarse Bonsai" to ensure they provide the perfect setting and backdrop."

Ulmus Procera (English Elms) in front.


Based on how the buildings looked in the 1920s and 30s, the model village includes two churches, four pubs, an airfield, schools and several homes, not to mention scores of little islanders going about their daily business.

Here you see yesteryear's Godshill High Street with its pretty shops.




 One full time model maker and handyman is in charge of the buildings. The 1:10 scale model houses are made of coloured cement because it weathers authentically.


 Many of the houses have real thatched roofs. It took 23 days to make 9000 miniature bundles and further 21 day to put them on the roof of one of the latest models.


 Over 3000 little trees and shrubs keep the proprietors and a full time gardener busy.  


Prunis Cerasifera Atropurpurea Pissardii (Pissards Plum)


 The miniature lawns require hours and hours of maintenance.

 St. Blasius, located in Shanklin and more than 450 years old - this model is 58 years old.

 Upper Chine School remained a private school into the 1980s, but now imagine yourself in the Island of the 1920s and 30s.


(I am sure Rebecca could tell us the story of this sad looking girl…)


The model pubs, houses and churches all have planting in proportion to their size.



 Shanklin Chine, a deep narrow gap with a water fall and a little stream ending in the sea, a tourist attraction for centuries – even Jane Austen was there!

 Very important: all kind of sports.



 Little Islanders at work and play.




 According to local legend the name 'Godshill' originates from the foundations of the local church, which dates back to the 14th century. The original site should have been on the bottom of the hill but each time the builders started, the stones were moved mysteriously overnight to its present location on the top of the hill. Surely a sign from God that the church should be built on the hill, hence the name Godshill.

 * The  Isle of Wight within England:

(from Wikipedia)

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