A Brief History of Dolls’ Houses Past & Present
Site Owners Past and Present
Site Owner 2009 - 2010
The Dolls’ Houses Past & Present website was originally set up by UK-based dolls’ house enthusiast Wendy Gater (who became Wendy Stephen in July 2010).
Wendy, passionate about her vintage and antique dolls’ house hobby, found it frustrating not to be able to share it with others with similar enthusiasm. The specialist magazine International Dolls’ House News (IDHN) had recently folded and there were only a few dolls’ house networks available online, none of which seemed to cater for collectors of older dolls’ houses.
Wendy thought it would be useful for both established and inexperienced collectors of antique and vintage houses to have somewhere to visit for information and to obtain answers to any questions they might have. After waiting and hoping for some time that a new magazine would evolve to fill the void left by IDHN, Wendy decided to launch the Dolls’ Houses Past & Present website, including the online magazine, to which any dolls’ house collector or miniaturist could contribute, allowing diverse collections and every aspect of this fascinating hobby to be featured.
Site Owner 2010 - 2011
Ownership passed to Anna-Maria in early 2010, when Wendy’s personal circumstances were such that she no longer had the time to run the site.
A New Zealander living in Australia, Anna-Maria became interested in dolls’ houses as a child, particularly representations of modern homes. For many years, she was largely a creator, working in 1:12 scale, until one day in March 2003 when she bought a 1970s Lundby house at a dolls’ house show and fulfilled one of her childhood dreams.
Anna-Maria’s collection of dolls’ houses then grew to include 16 houses dating from 1957 to 2007, mainly in 1:16 scale. In 2008/9 her houses were exhibited at Canberra Museum and Gallery as part of their Cabinets of Curiosities exhibition and in April 2010 her collection featured on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s TV programme The Collectors. Further information on Anna-Maria’s collection can be found on her blog.
Anna-Maria is also the creator and administrator of the FLICKR Modern Miniatures Group. In 2010, at Craft ACT: in Canberra, Australia, she curated an exhibition called Call of the Small – a 1:12 scale craft gallery containing miniature works from ten artisans, most of whom had never worked in miniature before.
Site Owner 2011 - 2019
In late 2010 Rebecca began assisting Anna-Maria with the DHP&P magazine and a year later, in 2011, she took over ownership of the site.
The Creation of a New Website
Collective Ownership 2019 - Present
The original Dolls’ Houses Past & Present website was hosted by Webs and this arrangement worked well for several years. However, as technology moved on, the site platform became rather out of date and the upgrades offered by Webs were, unfortunately, not compatible with the site’s needs. As Webs did not have any file transfer protocol, there was a very real danger that Dolls’ Houses Past & Present’s unique online archives would soon be lost.
The site was in crisis and it was apparent that a new site was needed which better suited our requirements and would safeguard the huge quantity of information and images documenting 19th & 20th century dolls’ houses contained on the site.
In July 2018 an appeal was launched to raise £10,000 to fund the development of a new website. The response from members and from the wider dolls’ house community was astounding and, in just 11 weeks, enough money was raised to cover fully the cost of developing the new site.
A wonderfully enthusiastic web design company, Purple Creative Studio, based in Richmond, N. Yorkshire, UK, was selected from a number of bids obtained and work began on the new site in October 2018. The project took 12 months to complete and the new site was launched in October 2019.