Tudor Dolls House (Hobbies No186 Special)
Tudor Dolls House (Hobbies No186 Special)(i)
1934 - 1943
A white and black Tudor-style Dolls' House, made from the Hobbies No.186 Special plans.
The "Dolls Houses Past and Present" site lists the dollhouse as having been available from 1934-1943
Hobbies Doll's Houses
Hobbies sold a range of fretworking and woodworking tools, and also had a regular magazine and annual that continually published new plans for people to make. Although some of the other plans seemed intimidatingly ambitious, the dollhouses were essentially decorative boxes that looked good without being structurally complex.
The idea of building a dollhouse was attractive to parents for several reasons: where many of the Hobbies designs were decorative and perhaps not especially utilitarian, the dollhouses were great as Christmas or birthday presents for children, and could be large and imposing and impressive without costing a lot of money. They'd also be used, would save the parents a significant amount of money compared to the cost of a commercially-made dollhouse, and would give a child the extra happiness of knowing that their dollhouse had been made especially for them by their clever and artistic parent/s.
The Hobbies dollhouse plans also had the advantage that they allowed a builder to have a wide degree of creative freedom regarding how they finished their dollhouse, while knowing that the results would still be professional-looking. For builders who didn't want to have to go to the trouble of sourcing all the raw materials for their dollhouse, Hobbies also sold complete kits consisting of the plans and al the main materials needed.
The No.186 Special
Of the various Hobbies dollhouse designs, the No.186 Special seems to have especially captured the attention of builders and their children, with its Tudor detailing lending itself well to the fretworking process, giving a complex but functional look that was not too difficult to create. The Tudor dollhouse had more diverting external detail than a "standard" dollhouse, and the exposed wooden framework was easy to paint in the builder's choice of colour to create something that looked much more expensive than simple sheets of painted plywod or board.
1950 advertising text:
Build her a Doll's House
Any handyman can enjoy making one of the large Doll's Houses from kits provided by Hobbies. All materials, large pattern sheets and full instructions make the job straightforward and you have a practical result at about half shop cost. Now is the time to begin to have one ready for Christmas. Illustrated is the 2 ft. 3in. 8-room Georgian House from Kit No.244 Special, Price 67/6.
Hobbies COMPLETE KITS
There is also
- a Tudor House, 2 ft. wide from Kit 237 Special, 55/-
- a Modern House, 1 ft. 8 in. wide, Kit 2666, price 35/-
- a Bungalow 1 ft. 9 in. wide, Kit 2792, price 10/-.
Ask for Hobbies Kits at any stores, ironmongers, or toy shop. Hobbies Branches in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Hull, Southampton, Bristol. Or sent (car, 3/6 extra) from Hobbies Ltd. (Dept 45), Dereham, Norfolk.
Write for an interesting illustrated leaflet of full range and details.
— advertisement, Hobbies Complete Kits, John Bull, 18 November 1950
- Hobbies of Dereham - Dolls Houses, Part 1 by Rebecca Green (dollshousespastandpresent.com) – scroll down for the section on the No.186 Special
- Hobbies Dolls Houses (pinterest.com)
- Special Fretwork Design No186 (finescrollsaw.com) – pdf