V & A Museum
The Foster House c1800
The museum at Bethnal Green was established in 1872, exhibiting a wide variety of objects, as dictated by the Victoria and Albert parent museum in South Kensington. At this stage the museum had no clearly defined categories as far as the collections went. In 1915 a Children's room was opened where children could play and involve themselves in various activities. Some items from the museum's own collection were included as well as a large Doll's House, Miss Mile's House, made in the 1890's. Arthur Sabin was in charge of the museum from 1922- 1940, and inspired by the 1915 Children's room he began to assemble a collection of toys, Doll' Houses began to be donated. The Doll's House collection went from strength to strength. By 1940 when Arthur Sabin retired, the childhood collection at the museum had become established.
However it wasn't until 1974 that Sir Roy Strong, the then Director of the V & A, decided that the museum would officially be dedicated to the subject of childhood.
My first visit to the V & A Museum was a very rushed event, my boyfriend was collecting some tropical fish from a nearby Aquatic shop in Bethnal Green and it was only open half a day as it was a Sunday. I only had about an hour to see all of the houses and take in all the detail of the miniatures, I was most peeved that I was so restricted on time!
On my second visit I met my good friend, we were not restricted on time at all and wandered around taking in all that we were seeing.
I could not believe the houses, they were magnificent and in such good preserved condition. I felt totally inspired and couldn't wait to get home and replan my dolls houses and work out items I needed to acquire for them.
Mrs Neave's House ca 1840
I love the bedroom "sleeping room" in Mrs Neave's House c1840, there is no concept of scale and it works perfectly, I was transfixed by all of the miniatures, the oversized bed and the large chest of drawers.These houses show us so much about history, we can see by how the bedrooms are furnished as to the period of time they relate to.
I would highly recommend a visit to the V & A Museum, it is a lovely old building which has been kept in excellent condition and the Doll's House's and miniatures are magnificent.
Information regarding the V & A Museum of childhood can be obtained from http://www.museumofchildhood.org.uk/
Mrs Bryant's Pleasure 1860
Highly Recommend the book: Doll's Houses from the V & A Museum of Childhood by Halina Pasierbska