Monday, February 1, 2016

My first Tasmanian dolls house

This is the other dolls house which was waiting for me in Bathurst. I bought it from its original owner, who lives in Canberra, but the dolls house itself was made in Tasmania. Mary, the owner, told me:
It was made in the mid-1960's by my great uncle, Leonard Alfred Clippingdale (1886-1976) for my eldest daughter, and was subsequently loved by three more daughters. Len was then living with my family in Tasmania, having migrated from Somerset to live with them after his wife died. He had worked as a builder/carpenter in his early years and never lost the skill. Len made this dolls house in the old toolshed on the farm we had at Glengarry, West Tamar during the 1960's.
--> Mary even sent me a lovely photo of Len with Mary and three of her daughters in Canberra!

When I first saw photos of the dolls house, I was attracted by the verandah, and all the opening plexiglass windows and external doors.
The back of the house lifts off - it is held in place by hooks at either end, and metal tabs along the edge of the base.
The small box on the end is not a battery compartment - the house has never had lighting. Instead, it's the recess for the fireplace - there's one at each end, with a chimney above each.
I don't seem to have taken a photo of the whole interior - there are four rooms, which, looking at the back of the house, from left to right, are the living room, kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom. I didn't measure the rooms individually, but the whole length of the house is 114 cm (about 45", or 3' 9"). The height (including chimneys) is 39 cm (1' 3 3/8"), and the depth (including the verandah) is 44 cm (1 5 3/8").
The living room, with double plexiglass French doors opening on to the verandah. The house is fully furnished, with all the furnishings made by Len - another thing I love about it. (I think these chairs, sofa and stool have probably been recovered, as the fabric looks much more 90s than 60s.)
An internal door in the living room gives access to the kitchen ...
You can see a door at the back right which leads out to the verandah, and there's a short passageway from the kitchen to the bathroom and bedroom, too.
Most of the kitchen furniture is built in - the fridge and cupboard, seen open in this photo, are both attached to the wall.
This kitchen dresser is also attached. The table and chairs aren't fixed, however.
The bathroom has the same flooring as the kitchen. There's a bath, basin, toilet and towel rail, all fixed, and a stool and mirror which aren't fixed. Here's another shot showing the hollowed out interior of the toilet:
The door opens to the short passageway - the other door standing open there is the door into the bedroom:
The furniture in the bedroom is painted a gorgeous bright yellow:
Inside the wardrobe is a tiny coathanger:
The base of the dolls house has printing on it, showing that it was made from an old packing case:
Mary, the owner, told me that her brother John worked in Launceston (Tasmania) at about that time for the National Cash Register Company of Kingsway West (now part of Dundee), in Scotland. That is wonderful to know - I have other dolls houses made from teachests and packing cases, but (if the company names on them can be made out), I have never before known the relationship between the maker and/or owners of the dolls house, and the companies whose packing cases were recycled to make them.

Some of the furniture is also made from packing cases. The chest of drawers has part of the word 'United' on it:

and the wardrobe has part of the word 'Kingdom', with the base of letters from another word above it. This appears to have been a packing case from another company, as the National Cash Register Co's address on the base of the house does not include the words 'United Kingdom'.

There are a few other pieces of furniture which I haven't photographed yet - porch seats, and a black item which looks a bit like another fridge. There are also three sets of curtains. I didn't have time to clean this house while I was down - I'll do that on another trip, and also hang the curtains. Then I'll think about which dolls would like to live here, and find them kitchen utensils, pictures, and other accessories.

The roof, with red binding tape over the ridge. The red paint needs a bit of touching up.

Mary has mentioned that her great-uncle Len made three other dolls houses. One is no longer in existence, but the other two are. I hope to see them, through photos or in real life, one day.