Monday, January 11, 2010

Childhood Furniture

In the Cupboard House are all the pieces of dolls house furniture remaining from when my sister and I were children, plus some of my Mum's. Also, the two Erna Meyer dolls which we played with as children live there.

Here they are, the poor things, the two dolls which inspired my love for Erna Meyer dolls:

I believe that my father bought these for us when he made a short trip to France during our stay in England in 1966. As long as I can remember, the little girl has been missing her face (and her hair, though that's not so unusual for Erna Meyer dolls). We must have done something dreadful to her - we were quite small when we were given the dolls. It looks as if her face has been bitten off! We attempted to give her eyes and a mouth with texta, so she would look like a person again. I suspect that there would have been two little girls (and perhaps a father doll?), but when we were properly old enough to play with a dolls house, we just had this mother and daughter pair. They lived with a family of Dol-toi dolls, which we did not keep.

On the same trip to France in 1966 (I believe), my father bought us this set of wooden furniture:

As you can see, this also shows signs of our childhood play. The grandfather clock had a paper face which got torn - the glue on the outside is from a replacement clock face which we stuck on. All the books are made from small blocks of wood, different sizes and thicknesses, and painted in different colours. We wrote 'A Book of Songs' in texta on one of them!
I would love to know who made this furniture - I've never seen it in books or on websites or ebay. I think the wood is pine, and the pieces are joined with tiny nails.

Here is our kitchen furniture:

The pale blue pieces are Twigg, and the green dresser is Pit-a-Pat. I think most likely the Twigg pieces were also bought while we were in England in 1966 - or sent by our grandparents, though I don't remember receiving them as a gift. The green dresser was Mum's when she was a child in the 1930s. I'm sure we had the second door - maybe we still do, somewhere, but I haven't seen it for years!
On the table are three little cups which we made from from acorn caps and buttons. You can also see the stains of playdough food inside the dressers:

I love the boxes in the Pit-a-Pat dresser: tea, coffee, rice, raisins and sago! Sago pudding, anyone?
I know that I used to know what the extra piece of wood is, but I have not remembered for a very long time!

I think it is a cover or lid for something - a Twigg piece, perhpas? It's painted a very pale pink on top, and is bare wood underneath. If anyone recognises it, please let me know!

The dolls house which housed this furniture was quite simple. We sold it when my sister and I were about 10 and 12, I think. I remember it being white, two storey, and open at the front - so quite a plain structure, I think. As well as the furniture here, we had a Petite Princess fireplace and dining table. I don't remember the beds or bathroom at all!

The Pit-a-Pat kitchen dresser which was our Mum's was passed on to us to play with. In the cupboard house there is also a lounge suite which was Mum's, which my grandmother kept - it came to me with the three antique dolls houses which my grandmother gave us. (I doubt it would have survived us playing with it as children!)

This is matchbox furniture, made by my mother, her brother and their governess in the 1930s or early 1940s. The fabric is quite faded and fragile, but it suits the drawing room of the cupboard house very well.


  1. Hi Rebecca,
    it's always a pleasure to read you :)
    no idea of the maker of your bought in France furniture, I have never seen such a furniture before. Sorry.

  2. Thanks for sharing these pieces of your dolls house history! Really lovely pictures and information. These pieces are real treasures, and it is nice you have preserved their memory even further with this post! I unfortunately do not have any relics from my first doll house, given to me when I was five. I do still remember the joy of seeing it in the early morning of my birthday, on the kitchen counter (where my parents were hiding it until I woke up!).

  3. I agree, Bea: so nice to read Rebeccas stories. I love especially the matchbox armchairs, just today I made a scene with my matchbox-sofas...
    It must be nice to have all this stuff from the childhood. Im sometimes sorry that my toys are gone.

  4. bea is right :) i love your blog posts and this special one very much, too!

    maybe you didn´t like the face of the erna meyer girl and you cut it of, to paint your own one? i really appreciate you kept her. i did the same with all the dollhouse furniture and very old caco dolls my granny gave to me from my mum´s childhood. they are totaly raddled, because i was to young and played a lot with them. i have to get them from the attic and make a post, too :)


  5. I love the pale blue colour on your kitchen furniture and the acorn cups!
    It's always nice with furniture kept from one's childhood, but how amazing to have the dresser and matchbox furniture from your mother's!
    I remember we made matchbox drawers, but never thought about making chairs and sofas of them.
    And it sounds so exotic to have a governess!

  6. i don't think that there are many of us that still have toys from our childhood. its such a shame, it would be so nice to have something tangible to go with our memories... enjoy xxx

  7. Delightful...your storytelling and the pieces from your childhood! Thanks for sharing!

  8. As far as I'm concerned, I must say , that I have never had many toys, two or three dolls, a monkey, a little pram for my dolls. I still have two of my dolls, and some pictures of me with two or three other toys. I'll post them on flickr if I have a good result with the scan

  9. Thank you all for your comments and appreciation - as you have probably gathered, my family are hoarders! No doubt helped by the fact that my grandparents lived in the same house all their married lives, and my mother has lived in her current house for over 30 years. And we just like keeping things!

    Memories and photos are also things to be treasured - unlike you, Oese, I don't have photos of our dolls house or other toys we didn't keep - and, unlike Callsmall, I don't remember at all when we got it! nor, very clearly, what it looked like. I just remember when we sold it!

    I'd love to see your old dolls and furniture, Nicola! When you and your daughter are well enough for you to have the time and energy to venture into the attic, of course!

    Helene, yes, my mother's childhood was quite different from mine. But I grew up reading books about children who had nannies and governesses, and my English cousins had a Nanny - for English children of the upper middle class (and above), it was quite usual. My mother's governess (who was Swiss, brought up in India!) and her two sisters remained friends of the family all their lives. (My mother's parents were English and Scottish, both born in India - fairly exotic but also normal at the same time for that time and class! A world I was part of but not really part of, being Australian.) I'm sure we made matchbox furniture ourselves, but we didn't keep that!

  10. I love the green Pit-a-Pat dresser with the little containers and the little home made suite is wonderful. :-)