Sharing dates of Fairs

If you click on one of the months above it will show a list of fairs usually held that month.PLEASE, PLEASE let me know of any fair you know about and I'll add it to the list.
I apologise for not making any attempt to keep it current this is just an attempt to have a list of as many dolls house shows that I can find. Even if you see a show with an old date you can just google the name of the show to find out the date of the next one.

It would be great if you'd let me know of any I can add to the list.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Fairfax House, York

The following photographs belong to Fairfax House who have kindly given me permission to use them here.  Please do not use them without permission.

When I went to the York show (7th June) we decided to make a weekend of it and pootled off to the lovely city of York on the sunshiny Saturday preceding the show.

After a picnic lunch off we went to visit the terrific Fairfax House.

Just as I had been doing in the Georgian House in Edinburgh the previous month I was on the hunt for various details of 1830 life.  Not so simple.

The house was originally early 18th century so its actual construction was fine for my house which would have been built around the same time.  The 'inhabited' time period shown there was about seventy years too early.  That said, changes were decidedly slower back then and a lot was 'still around' by 1830.  It was the right sort of size house to equate with the Philips sisters' house in Lyme Regis but, in comparison to theirs, it is very grand.

The house has a wonderful history of being a private house for nearly two hundred years and then a gentlemen's club, followed by being used as offices.  In the first world war it was co-opted into military use and by 1919 it was completely transformed into a cinema and dance hall.  This, of course, led to a comprehensive removal of a lot of its internal structures.  Fifty years later it was finally 'saved' and a wonderful restoration undertaken to try to get it back to the original state.

I was thrilled to find that its real entrance was exactly like mine.  I say 'real entrance' because you actually enter the building by way of the cinema entrance.  If you do visit, take a moment to get your bearings when you arrive in the vestibule as this is where you would have entered the house in its heyday.  It restores Georgian symmetry and the overriding sensibilities of the period.

The inner hall behind the vestibule was the main hall of the house with lovely staircases leading off on the left hand side (hidden here).  We can see stairs beyond in a further hallway which were much less important and probably not used for visitors.


This house has the best and most interesting ceilings I have ever seen in a house of this size.  They were incredible room after room.  Bizarrely they had been preserved by being painted over with black gloss paint.  Preservation was not the decorators intention at the time and it was a real challenge to remove.

Milton on the ceiling

I am very cross with myself that I never noticed that the only bust on the ceiling which I recorded was Milton now I am left wondering if my hero Andrew Marvel was up there somewhere.  He wrote for an earlier Fairfax and  'Upon Appleton House' featured greatly in my English degree - indeed in my final exam!  Sadly the Fairfax 'I knew' was a hundred years earlier and his Appleton House is no more.

I have 181 photos to choose from here each one equally delicious - how do I choose?



fabric sample book

I hope the ladies were as stuck for choice as I am.

looking at fireplaces

and their lovely slim surrounds

trying to see how the fire grate sits in the box

This looks a bit post Rumford to me and so not in the period they are covering but it is in mine so helped me.  Wouldn't want to pick up those fire irons though when the fire was lit!!  They didn't sit on the dogs.

a house with fenders

This is also a rare house in that several of its fires had fenders.  It drives me crazy in stately homes - mostly they do not have fenders.  Primarily wooden houses plus , wooden structures, rolling logs or coals would be a fire waiting to happen.  I wonder if it is because the generations working on these things now are so far removed from such things as lighting a fire.

I was born in 1945 but even then there were enough connections backwards to reach into Victorian ways of being and enough tips and methods still being passed on down.  We seem to have reached a stopping place post sixties where such things got swept away.  Rant over.

a gilded pie

fish and birds on a range

I think I will be on a lookout for a contemporary cook book next.

inner hall with main staircase

I'll leave you with a lovely piece of plaster-work and a strict instruction to get yourself to York for an overnighter.  Make a date in your diary for the weekend of 21/22 November.  The York dolls house show is on the 22nd.  You can do it very frugally if you stay a little outside the city (about fifteen minutes in our case) in a Premier Inn which did very well.  Do try to eat at Trinacria or at least pick up one of their ice creams.  It is just steps away from the show near the race course.  I can honestly say it was the best meal I have had in a long time and I am a bit of a nit-picky foodie.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Arts and Crafts

Departing from the period I am currently doing we did visit an example of an Arts and Crafts building which was interesting.  In a way it is an ideal place to go and look at the detail of the period as it is, somehow, overloaded with detail.

Goddards was the home of Noel Terry and his family.  He of Terry's chocolate deliciousness.

I think it was built at the end of the Arts and Crafts period rather than in its hey day and is almost a pastiche of all that was meant by that term.  I came away wanting the house and its position and their lifestyle but also not quite in love with it.  It seemed very masculine.

The upside is you are allowed to take photos (no flash) so you would be able to garner a zillion ideas for your own project......   and tea was lovely....

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The Georgian House, Edinburgh

At the end of May I had a wonderful week away in Edinburgh visiting my daughter and her husband but also taking in visits to anything related to my project.  I have lots of images and notes for the period that I am doing (1776-1830) but the details of houses are hard to come by. For example how did the bell pull enter/exit the wall, what were the hinges and other door furniture like and many more questions I couldn't find answers to.

Quite rightly, if you see pictures of rooms and houses they are there to give you the view of a whole room or a building, whereas I wanted to look at the nitty-gritty.  This nitty-gritty is hard to find for the casual 'historian' because most Georgian houses you see have been overlayed by an additional three hundred years of people living in them and/or the subjective foibles of any historical restorer.  Indeed I would claim, quite often, even they get it just plain 'wrong'.  Yes, that surprises me too.

So, with all that in mind, we were off to see the main reason of our trip - The Georgian House in Edinburgh.  Please do click on the link and take a look.

Anyone doing a Georgian/Regency property and who can get to Edinburgh should do so.  A day spent in the wonderful 'New Town' which has been beautifully preserved (not artificially) is just a joy.  You are really immersed in the time.

It is best to begin on the top floor of the house and watch the video about life in the house during that period and then work your way down to the basement.  If you are interested it will probably take you about an hour and a half to complete the tour.

There is information in every room which is interestingly written and informative and each room's docent couldn't be more welcoming, enthusiastic and knowledgeable - its a really lovely place to visit.

The following photographs belong to the National Trust of Scotland who have kindly given me permission to use them here.  Please do not use them without permission.

serene ceiling rose in the hall

willow and lots of glass and always a tablecoth

such a pretty fireplace
I have one almost identical to this.
simple colour scheme 
Pretty sure this is my colour scheme.
lovely square piano
Might have one made as my birthday present from the family. Miniature of course.
this is a plaster trim and in the same room

there is a trompe l'oeil one painted  above the doors
Hope to do this in the hall.
view of the room
This is pretty much the basis for my drawing room.  I am surprised by the picking out of trims with white but their information did say the decor came from research on another house and is true to the period so who am I to argue. I like it so much more than the concept of everything being painted in the same colour which is the general rule for this time.
lights in service areas

window seat
I have one - need another
nice 'desk' arrangement
Table with flap down front and writing box on top - very Jane Austin
the 'right' sort of barrels
A huge amount of stuff came in barrels; water, ale, small beer, wine, all kinds of dry goods, pickles, wrapped meats and on and on and on.  Other food storage was glass (surprised me) and stoneware.

functional dresser and batterie de cuisine

the wine cellar 

the bells (no tabs!!)
These bells should have little tabs on strings.  You often got to the board after the bell had stopped ringing/moving but a little tag on a string kept moving for a while afterwards so you could tell which room you needed to go to.
a vented storage room door

This was a technique used in pantries up to my childhood - there would be holes at floor level preferably to the outside and holes at the top (both usually through walls.  (meshed to keep insects out).  Hot air rises, so cool air was continually drawn in through the vent at the bottom and left the pantry at the top as it warmed up.  A pantry was always several degrees cooler than the kitchen.

an original lock and door knob
Doorknobs were generally black, not the brass we see everywhere.  Brass came late in the century and was only in the grandest of houses - gold coloured metals seen in palaces were often that - they were gilded metals.

This is just a tiny fraction of the details you can discover for yourself if you look carefully.  A tour of a house of the period can answer literally hundreds of questions you might have when you come to decorate, furnish or build your project so much better than any book or the hours spent trawling the web.  

In the case of this tour, for us, it was free as we are members of the English National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland  has a recipricol arrangement with them.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Gladstone's Land

I have been following three blogs of three different builds by a very talented lady, one of which is The Tenement.  It was in a sort of way rather odd to walk through a life-size version of her creation.

Gladstone's Land is genuinely an excitingly unique building in all kinds of ways. 

Gladstone's Land, a six storey building that stands on the north side of Edinburgh's Lawnmarket, not far down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle, is the most important of them.
Gladstone's Land has its origins in a building probably built in the latter part of the 1500s in a position 23ft further back from road than today's building. This probably had wooden galleries at different levels along its front, allowing residents to take the air without the need to wade through the open sewer that was the street itself.
On 20 December 1617 the property was purchased by Thomas Gledstanes and his wife. Like other owners of other properties along the "Kingis Hie Street" at the time, he built an extra room onto the front of each storey of the house, moving its frontage 23ft out into what as a result became a very much narrower street. This must have been part of an officially sanctioned policy to increase the amount of accommodation available within the overcrowded city. (Undiscovered Scotland)

Unfortunately you can't take pictures inside so I don't really have anything to share other than the front of the building and the back.  Please click on the two links I've put here and take a tour of a wonderful building simply loaded with information for anyone working on a project from about 1500 to 1700 - it is all there.  Better still book a holiday in Edinburgh.

front including pig
The courtyard behind the building is full of interesting 'other' buildings too but here is the view of the back of Gladstone's Land.

look carefully for the hoist on the roof 

The hoist was needed to get anything heavy or oversized to the various floors.  there was no way they would be coming up the very narrow spiral staircase.

Interesting, if confusing, fact:  the 'Land' is the word for building and 'Tenement' is the word for the land the 'Land' stood on.  We seem to have got them reversed since those days.  So Gladstone's Land mean Gledstane's (even spelling of the name got changed) building.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Museum of Childhood, Edinburgh

The Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh is slap-bang in tourist land - on the Royal Mile.  If you ever get a chance to visit Edinburgh do try and pop in to see this while you are doing the other touristy things.

their lovely hanging sign seems to have disappeared

It is free entry.  Of course it would be kind to pop some money in their box as you leave but no-one pesters you to do so.  They will even let you take photos as long as you don't use flash.  

I confess to not being greatly interested in toys but, if you are, this is the place for you.  Five floors just crammed with intriguing bits and bats.  In the case of bats - literally.  

This sort of thing is always an odd experience when you reach my age as you suddenly find your childhood (and even my children's childhood!) in a museum.

They are still worth a visit if your passion is only dollshouses.  They have a handful of interesting ones.

an old room box
Not especially 'well done' ones but interesting as they were of their time

great fireplace on this one

The following one was just described as unknown American.  I did suggest it could be worth finding out because if it were a Bliss or Gottschalk it could be worth a lot of money.  they politely said they weren't interested in the value of their items they just collected them.

do you know what this is?

My absolute favourite was the truly marvellous butchers shop

Monday, 8 June 2015

York Dollshouse and Miniatures Fair - 7th June 2015

I may as well begin with an apology.  This is the first show 'review' where I don't have a single photo to share with you.  I usually have an album.  For the last couple of years plus, every show I have been to I have been writing a review of it for Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine and so I was allowed to take a zillion photos (with vendors permission).

This time, quelle catastrophe!  Having agreed with the editor that I would cover it I arrived fifteen minutes before curtain up only to be told there was a lady already doing it.  I managed to speak to her briefly to confirm she was indeed covering the show for the magazine so, as she was already underway, I conceded the arena and sent my husband off to the car with my camera as I wouldn't be able to use it in the show.

Most vendors who make their own things don't want everyone photographing them and copying them so they are rightly 'precious' about who gets to do what, so it isn't worth trailing around with a camera for the occasional vendor who doesn't mind.

As for the show itself, it seemed to be a very good one.  Over eighty stalls, a fine day weather-wise and a ton of customers at opening time.  The location is very good - easy to get to and well sign-posted if coming by car.  That said, York is something of a hub for trains so I imagine it is also good for people who want to get there by train.

The racecourse is spacious (tons of free parking for the show) and offers easy walking into town from there if, like me, you have a companion who has a day to fill with things other than miniatures.

The show is spread over three floors so no real crush once the first hour's angst to get to the best piece has subsided.

I (my husband) always take stuff to the charity table and do that before the doors open as that it is always the first 'hit' for a lot of people.  I love the idea of someone enjoying my stuff more than the pennies you make after you have been stiffed by EBay.
(PS: they raised over £2,000 on the day)

The variety of vendors is good.  there are a few high end people, a mass of what I think of as nice things at doable prices and a few who are perfect for newbies who are just finding their feet and don't want to splurge on anything too 'exotic'. 

The food is reasonable and there are a couple of areas for this - a main restaurant area on the ground floor and a quiet snack and drink area on the third floor for five minutes feet up time.

There was a flower making class with Ladies Mile Miniatures and a Jane Harrop talk but I actually missed her stand and thought she wasn't there.  So cross with myself because I enjoy her talks and would have gone for sure.  She is always good to listen to, not to mention you get to do this for free.  There was also a lovely prize draw for a Petite Properties cottage.

The only other thing I can tell you is that I had a wonderful weekend.  We went to York on Saturday, had a picnic lunch from home, went round the amazing Fairfax House - do try to get to see it if you have any kind of Georgian itch.  I have never seen such fine ceilings in such a house.

We then checked into our hotel.  Premier Inn  (Bilbrough).  It was cheap, especially with the meal deal thrown in, and I'd certainly do it again.

We then went to see the Noel Terry house - this time to die for if you are an Arts and Crafts fan, or just want to see a nice house, stroll some pleasant gardens and have cake and tea.

On Sunday, following a good breakfast, I was off to the show .  I had finished by lunchtime so we went to lunch at an Italian which my husband haunts on all the York trips because they do fabulous ice cream.  I am even giving you a link to this because it was absolutely outstanding food and terrific service.  The place was very busy and full of yummy mummies and their tribes but well worth doing.  Trinacria.  

So if you do the terrific York show try to make a weekend of it.  It is happening again in November.

PS:  York itself is lovely and packed with history, topped by the breathtaking Minster.  If shopping is your thing - tons to go at including a great Designer outlet.

PPS:  if you want to see what I bought from fourteen vendors (!) go look at my Dalton House site on 10th, 11th, 12th June 2015.