Postwar Dollhouses and Miniatures (under construction)
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This new display is scheduled to be one of the museum's biggest new enhancements for 2021. Its title is still under review (as the dinky and Dolly Varden pieces from the 1930s are pre-WW2).
When completed, the display will hold a range of dollhouse-related toys from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Much Nineteeth-century dollhouse furniture had been comparatively large (around one-eighth-scale, see adjacent cabinet), but the fame of the "1:12" Queen Mary dollhouse cemented one-twelfth-scale as the respectable default standard scale for dollhouses in the 1920s. As mass-production techniques improved after WW2, incorporating injection-moulded plastics, 1:16-scale ranges became seen as a credible competitor, and if one was prepared to go more down-market one could even get houses and furniture in 1:24th-scale. Meanwhile, Britains Hospital and Britains Floral Garden sets used the Britains "standard" scale of 1:32, originally used for their lead soldiers. All four scales are represented in the display.
- Dolly Varden dollhouse.
- Tri-ang dollhouse. A representative largish example of a traditional mid-period dollhouse by Tri-ang (Lines Brothers), a continuation of the Nineteenth-Century dollhouse ranges of G&J Lines. With two opening front doors, this example has lighting, and is fully populated with typical dollhouse furniture from various 1940s/1950s manufacturers.
- Mettoy tinplate dollhouse (1954-). Although companies like Marklin had previously made individual tinplate rooms, the idea of Marx and Mettoy of making complete dollhouses out of printed tinplate was radical. Our example is the best model we know of toy a UK design, and the bright, vibrant, unfaded lithographed paintwork looks practically factory-fresh.
- Tri-ang bungalow. The designers of Tri-ang's final range of traditionally-built dollhouses were captivated by the new 1960s fashion for modernist bungalows, popularised by Hollywood film stars.
- Tri-ang Jenny's Home. The last range produced by Triang. Interlinked clip-together rooms, available singly or in packs in two sizes, with interchangeable doors and windows, reflecting the number of people now living in blocks of flats, whose children did not necessarily identify with traditional Georgian dollhouses. For the more aspirational, these rooms could also be clipped together on a single level to create luxury bungalows.
- Dinky Toys dollhouse furniture (1930s).
- Spot-On (1960-)/ Jenny's Home (1965-) dollhouse furniture. Originally manufactured at Triang's Belfast Castlereagh plant, The Spot-On range went to great pains to make sure that each major item in the range contained both plastic and metal (usually diecast) parts. As a brand new range, championing modern design, the range uniquely captured the dominant design aesthetics of the 1960s.
- Other. Miscellaneous furniture from the 1940s-1950s
- Britains Floral Garden.
As of March 2021, the "Floral Garden" display is complete, and the other sections of the new display are at advanced stages of completion. Although work is currently being hampered by the COVID restrictions, we expect the full set of displays to be ready for the Museum's planned reopening in mid-May 2021.