Dolls houses to go under the hammer at Newcastle auctioneers - GALLERY

HER dream home would never feature on a TV makeover programme, but for Nora Boll, furnishing it was a labour of love.

HER dream home would never feature on a TV makeover programme, but for Nora Boll, furnishing it was a labour of love.

From tiny chandeliers to miniature chairs, beds and curtains, her lifelong collection of dolls houses then grew to around 30 different properties.

And now tomorrow they will go up for sale.

The event at the Newcastle salerooms of Anderson & Garland is believed to be the biggest ever sale of dolls houses and furniture held in the North East.

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As well as the houses, the sale will include hundreds of items of furniture.

Nora, 89, from Newcastle, started the collection with her mother who bought their first second-hand dolls house with furniture in 1927 when they lived in Elswick in the city.

This was joiner-made and dated to around 1910.

The sale will include the tiny chandeliers from that house.

Nora remembers buying furniture from a toy shop in Newcastle called Alfreds.

She started collecting again once she approached retirement from her career as a physiotherapist.

She bought houses from auctions and fairs, and also picked up items on holidays, including cane furniture at a gypsy market in Yugoslavia.

She also bought Japanese and Swiss Lundy furniture, which kitted out an entire house.

One of her favourite purchases, from a Whitley Bay auction in 1979 for £70, was a dolls’ house built and furnished between 1939 and 1942, with curtains made from parachute silk.

Nora also bought a number of kits at the National Trust’s Wallington Hall in Northumberland, which has a celebrated range of old dolls’ houses on show.

Nora’s collection includes early items from Lines Brothers, which became the Triang toy company.

“There is something of a cult hobby based on dolls’ houses and furniture,” said John Anderson, of Anderson & Garland.

“Modern dolls’ houses are to the same scale and there are small specialist makers turning out items such as chandeliers and grandfather clocks. It’s a cottage industry.

“It appeals to people who can’t furnish a Grand Designs dream home but they can do it in miniature.

“But the dolls’ houses in this collection are to different scales.

“Some items of dolls’ house furniture can be expensive and it has happened that we have sold some which has fetched a higher price than the real life-size equivalent items.”

The sale will be spread over tomorrow and a fortnight later.


A DOLL’S house owned by a County Durham woman proved the star exhibit at a museum display on Charles Dickens.

Retired teacher Margaret Watson’s five-storey dolls house is based on Dickens’s home in Doughty Street, London.

Margaret, who lives in Barnard Castle, began furnishing the craftsman-made house 18 years ago, based on the actual items at Doughty Street which is now a Dickens museum.

She loaned it for a year to the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle, whose exhibition on Dickens ended last month.

The Woodhorn Matters group, based at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland, produced four proggy and clippy mats, each four and a half inches by two inches, for the house.

Margaret has also commissioned craftspeople across England and abroad to make tiny objects such as an accordion, miniature cigars, wine bottles and glasses and even Dickens’ white cat.


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