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Dolls' Houses
Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern.
Plus furniture and accessories.

Issue 22 (September 2014)

Hobbies of Dereham Dolls Houses and Wallpapers, 1968-2014

by Rebecca Green

History

Dolls Houses designed by Ivan Stroulger, 1968-1977

Dolls Houses from Hobbies (Dereham) Ltd, 1978 on

Dolls House Papers sold by Hobbies

In the March 2014 issue of this magazine, I described how the firm of Hobbies was wound up in 1968. One of the employees made redundant when that happened was Ivan Stroulger, who had begun working for the firm in 1936. Born in Norfolk, Ivan had started fretwork as a school boy, and had bought his wood and fretwork blades from the Hobbies Supply Depot in Dereham. His first job was with a chemist, but as well as fretwork, he sketched, drew and did some sign-writing. He expressed interest in joining the Hobbies drawing office, but as there were no vacancies, and Ivan also had experience of shop work, he was offered a job in a London branch of Hobbies. After 6 months in London, he was appointed as first assistant of the Manchester branch, and then in 1953, he moved from Manchester back to Dereham to take up the position of Buyer and Supply Manager. He continued as a manager at Hobbies head office in Dereham until 1968, when he found himself without a job.

Ivan Stroulger, right, with the last managing director of Hobbies Ltd, Mr Gerard Master, at the opening of the Hobbies Museum in 1993. Photo © Robert Stroulger; scanned with his permission from The Hobbies Story by Terry Davy.

His son Robert Stroulger writes (pc) that it took great courage on his father’s part to plough all his redundancy money into re-starting Hobbies from his own back garden shed in 1968, when he was in his 50's. After years of shop and managerial work, Ivan Stroulger started designing models himself. Initially, he designed and made kits for four doll’s houses (a Chalet, Windmill, Pixie, Gypsy Caravan), as well as a fort and a garage. 

For a short time, while Hobbies were still trading and clearing their stocks, Ivan Stroulger was able to sell his kits through Hobbies’ mail order facilities. 

He then formed his own company, called Dereham Handicraft Company, in 1968. In partnership with Norman Lambert, formerly of the Hobbies drawing office, Ivan Stroulger also started another company called Hobby Trends at some point before 1970. The partnership did not continue, and in 1975 Ivan formed Hobbies and Handicrafts (Dereham) Ltd. Catalogues of the kits he had designed were issued under all these names.

Ad in Do It Yourself magazine, December 1975, for the 1975 DH

  

Ads for Hobbytrends Annuals of 1972 and 1975/76, in Do It Yourself magazines of December 1971 and December 1975.

Some of Ivan Stroulger’s doll’s house designs were also sold through the 'Hobby’s' catalogues: the Chalet Doll’s House and the Anglian Doll’s House both appear in the 'Hobby’s' 1976/77 catalogue.

Illustration of DHC kit of the Chalet Dolls House from the 1976/77 Hobby's Annual.

The Anglian, the Chalet, the Executive and the Town House, as well as a Bungalow and a Block of Flats, were also published in issues of 'Do It Yourself and Practical Woodworking' magazines between 1970 and 1975, giving Hobbytrends’ contact details for purchasing kits. (I only have a few issues of these magazines, and there may have been other Hobbytrends / DHC models featured in them which I am unaware of).

    

Dolls houses designed by Ivan Stroulger featured in the magazines Practical Woodworking(November 1970) and Do It Yourself  (December 1971 and December 1975)

In late 1977, Ivan Stroulger applied to have the old Hobbies trade mark assigned to him, plus patents and copyright. He was successful, and the transfer occurred in early 1978. In mid 1978, he issued the first edition of the new 'Hobbies Handbook'. He was later joined in the company by his sons Robert and John.

  

Left: Ad for Hobbies 1981-82 'Handbook in Practical Woodworking', December 1981. Right: John, Ivan and Robert Stroulger outside the Hobbies Craft Centre and Museum of Fretwork ca 1998. Photo © Robert Stroulger; scanned with his permission from The Hobbies Story by Terry Davy.

Ivan Stroulger continued to design dolls houses. Unfortunately, I have copies of only some of the new 'Hobbies Handbooks' (the editions of 1982-83, 1984-85, 1987 - 1993 and 1995, then 2006-2011). Over 20 doll’s houses, 1 farm and 1 shop appear in them; other designs may have been available in the missing years, particularly between 1978-1983 and after 1995.

Hobbies' 12th scale model houses pictured in the 1992 Hobbies Handbook 

In 2005, Hobbies was sold to new owners, with all copyrights and trade marks (including the distinctive logo). After continuing at Dereham for a couple of years, new headquarters and a new shop were established at Raveningham, on the other side of Norwich from Dereham. Hobbies Handbooks since 2006, and the new Hobbies website, still carry Hobbies’ plans for many of the dolls houses, although 2009 was the last year that 16th scale plans were available.  Hobbies now [at the time of writing] also sells ready to assemble doll house kits from Barbara’s Mouldings and Streets Ahead, perhaps an indication that many customers now would prefer not to spend time cutting wood (or MDF or plywood) before building their dolls house. 

In 1993, Robert Stroulger had set up a Hobbies Museum in Dereham. The contents of the museum, as well as the archive of Hobbies’ designs, were also sold to the new owners, and are now in storage.

Dolls Houses designed by Ivan Stroulger, 1968-1977 

The first four dolls houses designed by Ivan Stroulger in 1968 were the Chalet dolls house, the Windmill dolls house, the Pixie dolls house, and the Gypsy Caravan dolls house. The Chalet was later published in 'Practical Woodworking' magazine in 1970, and also sold through Hobby's by Dereham Handicraft Company in 1976. The other three, however, I know only from photos in 'The Hobbies Story', a history of Hobbies published in 199x. The photos in the book were supplied by Robert Stroulger, and are reproduced here with his permission.

Ivan Stroulger's Chalet Dolls House, shown on the cover of Practical Woodworkingmagazine, November 1970. The kit, DHC 802, could be bought from Hobbytrends, Dereham.

The interior of the Chalet Dolls House, as shown in Practical Woodworking magazine, November 1970.


The Chalet Dolls House, No 802, in the 1976 'Hobby's Annual'.

The Windmill Doll's House, designed by Ivan Stroulger, as shown in The Hobbies Story.Photo © Robert Stroulger, reproduced with permission.

 

The Pixie Doll's House, designed by Ivan Stroulger, as shown in The Hobbies Story. Photo © Robert Stroulger, reproduced with permission.

The Gypsy Caravan Doll's House, designed by Ivan Stroulger, as shown in The Hobbies Story. Photo © Robert Stroulger, reproduced with permission.

In 1969, the range contained two of these dolls houses, the Chalet and the Pixie, and three new designs: the Manor, the Lynn, and the Anglian.

Like the Chalet dolls house, the Anglian was published in a magazine - in this case, the December 1971 issue of Do it yourself magazine, and was also sold through Hobby's, appearing in the 1976 'Hobby's Annual' along with the Chalet.

The Anglian Dolls House, as shown in 'Do it Yourself' magazine, December 1971. Above: exterior, below: interior.

The Anglian Dolls House, No 809, as it appeared in the 1976 Hobby's Annual.

While the Anglian, as far as I know, did not appear in 'Hobbies Handbooks' from 1982-1995, it did appear in the 2006-2008 Hobbies Handbooks. It was probably reintroduced at some point before the sale of Hobbies in 2005.

Anglian Dolls House, No 755, from the Hobbies 2008 Handbook.

16th scale. Size 24" w x 10" d x 18" h (61 x 24 x 44.5 cm)

Available from sometime between 1996-2005, until 2008

I have not seen a named illustration of the Lynn dolls house. However, I suspect that it was probably the model shown on the cover of the 'DHC Handbook' for 1975 (shown above in an ad from Do it yourself magazine, December 1975). That model - and indeed the photograph of it - is identical to the Alison dolls house, No 753, in the 1982-83 'Hobbies Handbook'. The design is very similar to that of the Lindy play house, previously available from Hobbies from 1963-1968.

 

The Alison Doll's House, No 753, as shown in the 1984-85 Hobbies Handbook, was probably the Lynn doll's house of 1969, renamed.

The Alison was redesigned in 1993. The new version was still available until 2008.

No 753, the Alison Play House, as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook.

16th scale. Height 31", size of rooms 9" x 14".  

New design available 1993-2009.

I do not know what the third of the new 1969 designs, the Manor, looked like. 

At least three new designs appeared in 1970. The Executive and The Town House were both published in the December 1970 issue of 'Practical Woodworking'. In style and in size, they were similar - both to each other, and to the Anglian. The Executive was described as "of pleasant contemporary appearance ... the type of house one would expect to be occupied by a prosperous businessman", while, although the Town House has "the same basic shape, the different arrangements of doors and windows make [it] more suited to an urban situation". Kits of parts for building the dolls houses were available from Hobbytrends in Dereham.

The Executive, as shown in 'Practical Woodworking', December 1970. Five rooms, plus integral carport. Sliding back.

16th scale. Size 24" w x 18" d x 18" h.

The Town House, as shown in 'Practical Woodworking', December 1970. Five rooms, plus integral garage. Sliding back. The left and right sides of the first floor are set slightly back, forming a small balcony on each side.

16th scale. Size 24" w x 14" d x 18" h

A Tudor dolls house was also introduced in 1970. Unfortunately, I only know of it from an ad for the 1970/71 Hobbytrends Annual in the same issue of 'Practical Woodworking' from December 1970.

Another dolls house appeared on the cover of 'Hobbytrends Annual' for 1975'76, advertised on the same page of the December 1975 issue of 'Do it yourself' magazine as the 'DHC 1975 Handbook' showing the Lynn/Alison dolls house, shown above. It also has some similarities to the Executive, Town House and Anglian dolls houses, but appears to have fewer internal rooms, and an attached but external carport with its roof forming a terrace.

Unknown dolls house on the cover of 'Hobbytrends Annual', 1975/76, as advertised in 'Do it yourself' magazine, December 1975.

The same issue of 'Do it yourself' magazine from December 1975 presents two other Hobbytrends dolls houses, a bungalow and a block of flats.

Hobbytrends bungalow dolls house, as shown in Do it yourself magazine, December 1975.

Hobbytrends block of flats dolls house, with a working, hand-operated, lift, as shown in 'Do it yourself' magazine, December 1975.

Dolls Houses from Hobbies (Dereham) Ltd, 1978 on 

Ivan Stroulger issued the first new 'Hobbies Handbook in August 1978. As I mentioned, the earliest of these new Handbooks which I have is for 1982-83, so there are four years for which I have no information about the dolls houses available. 

Seven dolls houses and one farm appear in the 1982-83 'Hobbies Handbook'. No 753, the Alison Play House, has already been shown above, as I think it was the Lynn dolls house under a new name. The others were the Sandringham, the Dreamholme, the Tudor, the Regency, the Kathryn, the Victorian, and the Jonathan Farm.

No 751, the Sandringham Dolls House, as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook. This opened with a sliding back.

16th scale. Base 34" x 12", height to chimney 23". 

Available 1982/3 (or earlier) - 2008.

The Dreamholme shared a name with the earlier Hobbies RTA 14, available 1964-1968, but only vaguely resembled it. This Dreamholme was hinged in the middle, so that it would open out in two halves, with two rooms on the ground floor of each side, and a small attic room on each side too.

No 752, the 'Dreamholme' Doll's House, as shown in the 1984-85 Hobbies Handbook. 

16th scale. Base 30" x 20", height to chimney 18". 

Available 1981/82 (or earlier) - 1991

It is probably the 'Dreamholme' dolls house opened out which is pictured on the cover of Hobbies 1981-82 Handbook, as shown in an ad in Practical Woodworking magazine, December 1981.

No 754, the Tudor Doll's House, as shown in the 1984-85 Hobbies Handbook. This opened with a sliding back.

16th scale. Size 27" x 14" x 22" high. 

Available 1982/83 (or earlier) - 1993

By 1995, the Tudor Dolls House had been redesigned so that it was now front opening. This new design was issued as No 752 (the number previously assigned to the Dreamholme, which had not been available since 1991.) As well as using the new Hobbies windows, it had an upper floor with projections on both fronts and both side. The Handbook explained that "although there are detailed features in this doll's house, construction is quite straight forward."

No 752, the front opening New Tudor Doll's House, as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook. 

16th scale. Size 28" x 14" x 22" high. 

Available 1995 (or possibly 1994) - 2007

At some point between 1995 and 2005, the Tudor was redesigned again, this time in 12th scale. The opening front panels, and the projecting areas at front and side of the first floor, remain. Until 2007, both the 12th and 16th scale versions were available.

No 891, The Tudor Dolls House, as shown in the Hobbies 2008 Handbook.

12th scale. Size 30" x 15" x 28 ½"

Published sometime between 1996-2005, available until 2008.

The Regency Doll's House, like the Tudor, was first designed with a sliding back in the early 1980s (or possibly late 1970s), and then updated to have a hinged front, and released under a new design number, in the early 1990s. The new design was in 12th scale, and it was described as the largest in the range.

No 755, the Regency Doll's House, as shown in the 1984-84 Hobbies Handbook. This opened with a sliding back.

16th scale. Base 33" x 15", height to chimney 22"

Available 1982/83 (or earlier) - 1991

No 793, the updated Regency Doll's House with triple hinged front. Above, the exterior as shown in the 1992 Hobbies Handbook; below, the interior as shown in the 1992 Hobbies Handbook.

12th scale. Size 36" w x 16" d x 25" to height of chimney. 

 Available 1992 - 2014

These plans were also issued free with Dolls House and Miniature Scenemagazine, Issue 39, September 1997.

The Kathryn Doll's House, like the Dreamholme, was more in the tradition of play dolls houses than the Tudor, Regency or Victorian dolls houses. It was hinged in the centre of the back so that it swung open in two halves for play. The garage was separate. It was not redesigned, and was available until 1995 (or possibly later - as I have no Hobbies Handbooks between 1995 and 2006, I am not certain of the year when designs were discontinued during this period).

No 756 Kathryn Doll's House, hinged in two halves to swing open for play. Separate garage. As shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook.

 16th scale. Size of house 24" x 12" x 23" high, base 36" x 18".

Available 1982/83 (or earlier) - 1995 or later.

The Victorian Doll's House was the first to be issued in 12th scale. It appears in the 1982/83 Hobbies Handbook, which explains that it is "designed for the keen collector of 1/12th scale furniture, or as a play house for young people." A design for a set of Chippendale-style dining room furniture in 12th scale was also available in that year's Handbook, and more were to be added during the year ready for the next Handbook.

No 791 Victorian Doll's House, as shown in the 1984/85 Hobbies Handbook. Above, exterior; below, interior.

12th scale. Size 29" w x 15" d x 37" to height of chimney.

Available  1982/83 (or earlier) - 1991

An updated design (No 794) for the Victorian dolls house was issued in 1992, the same year the new Regency design was issued. As the Victorian was already in 12th scale, the dimensions did not change. The differences include ready-made windows, rather than acetate and stripwood being provided to make them, a new door, and two pilasters added to the front.

No 794 Victorian Model Doll's House. Above, exterior as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook; below, interior from the 1992 Hobbies Handbook.

12th scale. Size 29" w x 15" d x 37" to height of chimney.

Available  1992 - 2014

These plans were also issued free with Dolls House and Miniature Scenemagazine, Issue 40, October 1997.

The Jonathan Farm continued the tradition of Hobbies Model Farms from the late 1930s, and the 1950s-60s. It is not strictly speaking a dolls house, but I include it here as the earlier model farmhouses have been found used as dolls houses.

No 761, Jonathan Farm, as shown in the 1984/85 Hobbies Handbook.

Approx 1:40 scale. Size of baseboard 24" x 18"; farmhouse ca 10" wide.

Available 1982-83 (or earlier) - 2014

Two dolls houses appear in the 1984/85 Hobbies Handbook which are not in the 1982/83 edition. These are the Carla dolls house for fashion dolls, No 770, and the Edwardian dolls house, No 792.

The 1982/83 Handbook does include a design for Fashion Doll's Furniture, No 767 - perhaps the Carla had been available in earlier years, or perhaps (as the numbering would suggest) the furniture plans were available before the house plans. Basically an open box shape, it had a front door, balcony and awning on the side, as well as a balustrade around the roof, to give it architectural interest.

No 770 'Carla' Doll's House for fashion dolls, as shown in the 1984/85 Hobbies Handbook.

1/6th  scale. Height 48", size of rooms  20" x 15".

Available 1984/85 - 1995.

The Edwardian Doll's House was the second, after the Victorian, to be issued in 12th scale. It was redesigned from Hobbies No 93 Special, from the 1917 Hobbies Handbook, and adapted to take Hobbies moulded plastic windows. The whole front was removed in one piece, "as in museum pieces", being attached by hook and eye fastenings at each side.

No 792 Edwardian Doll's House. Above, exterior as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook; below, interior as shown in the 1984/85 Hobbies Handbook.

12th scale. Size 36" x 18" x 32" to height of chimney. 

Available 1984/85 - 1995 (or later)

Some modifications were made to this design in the late 1990s, as we can see from an ad for the Hobbies 1999 Annual, which appeared in Dolls House and Miniature Scene in December 1998.

Further modifications were made in the early 2000s, and a new design was issued both as plans (No 792R) and as a ready-to-assemble kit (RTA 7792). This appears in an ad for the Hobbies 2003 Annual in the January 2003 issue of Dolls House World, with the word 'New'  above the photo of the RTA model. However, as another design was similarly advertised as 'New' for three years, this does not give us an exact release date.

Plan No 792R Edwardian Dolls House, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook

12th scale. Size 36" x 18" x 34 ½"

Available ca 2002 - 2014

RTA 7792 Edwardian Dolls House, exterior and interior, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook

12th scale. Size 34" x 19" x 30 ¾"   

Available ca 2002 - 2010

In 2009, the RTA 7792 Edwardian Dolls House had an external makeover. The interior looks very similar, although the red stair carpet has gone!

The next new design that I am aware of was a Dolls Bungalow, which appears in the 1987 Hobbies Handbook but was not in the 1984/85 Handbook. This was the first bungalow issued under the new Hobbies (Dereham) Ltd label. It was available for only three years, and then a redesigned version appeared in 1990, simply as 1990 Bungalow, "newly designed to take our standard range of fiitings" (although these had been used in the earlier version too...). The new version was not included in the 1991 Hobbies Handbook, but reappeared in 1992 with the same design number as the 1987 version.

No 759, Dolls Bungalow, as shown in the 1987 Hobbies Handbook.

Scale ¾ to the foot. Size 24" x 10" x 12" high, on base 24" x 20". 

Available 1987 (or possibly 1986) - 1989

1990 / 759 Dolls Bungalow. Above, exterior as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook. Below, interior as shown in the 1990 Hobbies Handbook.

Approx scale 16th  ( ¾ - foot). Size of base 36" x 18"

Available 1990, 1992 - 2006

The early 1990s was the time when updated versions of the Regency, Victorian and Tudor dolls houses appeared. These have been shown above, with their earlier versions. New models also appeared, including a Georgian dolls house, a Country Shop and another house for fashion dolls, called the Dream Home.

The Georgian dolls house, like the other updated period dolls houses, was in 12th scale, "specially designed for the collector of 1/12th scale furniture, or as a playhouse for young children." It was designed to take the new range of white moulded window and door fittings.

1991 D/H / 791 Georgian Model Dolls House. Above, exterior as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook. Below, interior as shown in the 1991 Hobbies Handbook. (No stairs are shown, but they could be added.) 

12th scale. Size of base 30" x 14"

Available 1991, 1993 - 2014

No 796 Country Shop Model Dolls House. Above, exterior as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook. Below, interior as shown in the 1992 Hobbies Handbook.

12th scale. Size of base 24" x 9".

Available 1992 - 2014

These plans were also issued free with Dolls House and Miniature Scenemagazine, Issue 34, April 1997.

The Dream Home doll's house for fashion dolls, like the 'Carla', was open at the front. It had four spacious rooms and a roof area, with windows at the side of each room. It has an interesting irregular hexagonal shape.

No 800 Dream Home Doll's House for fashion dolls, as shown in the 1995 Hobbies Handbook.

1/6th  scale. Size 37" x 18" x 30" high.

Available 1993 - 1995 (or later).

Another fashion dolls house design, The Miranda, appears in the Hobbies Handbook of 2008. Its number is 769, which confusingly suggests that it predated both the Carla (No 770, available 1984/85-1995) and the Dream Home (800). However, this does not seem to have been the case, and Hobbies may have re-used the number of an earlier design which had been retired, as we have seen happened with No 752, originally the Dreamholme and later the New Tudor dolls house.

No 769 The Miranda (Fashion Doll's House), as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook. Described as "a majestic 'Dutch' style house ideal for Barbie and Sindy Style Dolls."

 12th scale. Size 30 ¼" x 16 ½" x 35" h (76.5 x 42 x 89 cm)

Available ca 1998 - 2014

The following dolls houses I know from the Hobbies Handbooks of 2006 and later. Their design numbers suggest the order in which they were published, and an ad for the 1997 Hobbies Handbook, on which the Charlotte Junior Carry House is shown with the word 'New' above it, indicates that the Charlotte, No 798, was available by mid 1996 at the latest, when the 1997 Handbook was published. (An ad for the 1999 Hobbies Handbook also shows the Charlotte with the word 'New' above it, so for all we know, it may also have been 'new' in the 1996 Handbook.) Presumably No 797, the Farmhouse, was released before the Charlotte.

No 797, The Farmhouse, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook.

 12th scale. Size 28" x 13 ¾" x 28". (71 x 35 x 71 cm)

Available ca 1996 - 2014.

No 798, The Charlotte (Junior) (Carry House), as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook. One of the roof sections (presumably the one without the dormer window) folds back for access to the loft. Sides are open.

12th scale. Size  18" w x 16 ½" d x 18" h (45.7 x 41.9 x 45.7 cm)

Available ca 1996 - 2014

The next three dolls house designs have consecutive numbers - 853, 854, and 855. This suggests that they were published around the same time, and the difference between the Charlotte's number (798) and these suggests a gap of a few years at least. So perhaps they were released in the late 1990s.

No 853, Garden Chalet, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook.

12th scale.  Size 18 ¼" w x 15 ¼" d x 10 ¾" h (46.5 x 38.5 x 27.5 cm)

Available ca 1999 - 2014

No 854, Rose Cottage, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook. It is described in 2008 as "an attractive smaller 12th scale doll's house. Excellent where display space is limited"; in 2009, it is said to be 16thscale). It had 4 rooms with a central hall and landing.

 12th or 16th scale? Size 26 3/8" x 13" x 22 5/8" (67 x 33 x 57.5 cm)

Available ca 1999 - 2009

No 855 The Park View, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook. Described as "a Classic design of a 1930's house. Our first double sided dolls house with openings to front [above] and rear [below]. 15 rooms and landing areas to decorate to your taste." Plans for a stand (No 900) were also published, probably some time after the dolls house plans.

12th scale. Size 65 cm d x 96 cm w x 80 cm h

Available ca 1999 - 2014

By its number, the 12th scale Tudor dolls house, No 891, would have been published after the three houses shown above. It has already been shown above, following the 16th scale Tudor houses.

The final three Hobbies' dolls house designs that I know of are all in 1/24th scale. Their numbers do not fit the sequence of 16th or 12th scale dolls houses, so don't give any clues about when they were issued. Without access to Hobbies Handbooks for 1996-2005, I can only say that they appeared sometime during this period.

No 451, Cottage Crafts, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook. "A charming house ... front, single panel opening gives access to 4 rooms, with stairs to the rear."

1/24th scale. Size 12" w x 7" d x 13" h (30 x 17 x 32.5 cm)

Published sometime between 1996-2005, still available 2014.

No 452, Country Mansion, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook. Two front opening panels, 6 rooms with hall and landing.

1/24th scale.  Size 18 ½" w x 8 ½" d x 14" h (46 x 21.5 x 34.5 cm)

Published sometime between 1996-2005, still available 2014.

No 453, Country Inn, as shown in the 2008 Hobbies Handbook.Redesigned from Hobbies No 204 Special 'Old Country Inn', from the 1938 Hobbies Handbook.

1/24th scale. 
Size of base 24" w x 10" d, height 12" (61 x 25.4 cm, 30.5 cm high)

Published sometime between 1996-2005, still available 2014.

Of all the dolls house plans published by Hobbies in its long history, 14 are still available for sale on the current Hobbies website, www.alwayshobbies.com, through the 2015 Hobbies Handbook, and at the new Hobbies shop at Raveningham, Norfolk. Nine are in 12th scale, three in 24th scale, one is in play scale (1/6th) and the last, the farm, in about 1/40 scale. Nine of these designs were published after 1995, and four others date from the early 1990s. However, two of them are updated versions of pre World War II designs - the Edwardian, based on the No 93 Special from 1917, and the Country Inn, based on the No 204 Special from 1938. Hobbies designs clearly stand the test of time!

Dolls House Papers sold by Hobbies

1970s

We know from the publications in which Hobbytrends, Dereham Handicraft Company and Hobbies and Handicrafts (Dereham) dolls house kits appeared, that dolls house wallpapers were supplied - in the kits, or through the catalogues of these companies. However, in the absence of any of these catalogues, the only clues I have to the wallpaper designs of this period are the photographs of decorated dolls houses.

In this Chalet dolls house from 1970, we see five interior wallpapers, as well as red brick, fort stone, another stone, and parquet and black and white tile floor papers. (The roof has green pantile paper.) There are three white and brown wallpaper patterns, which can be seen more clearly in the photo below: a toile, a design of flowers and leaves, and an abstract design. There is also a red and white striped paper, and what appears to be a brown on blue pattern in the upper left room.

The design on the left has recently appeared in an Anglian dolls house on ebay, where we can see that the foliage is not all beige or brown:

Early 1970s design in an Anglian dolls house © ebay seller paulch24

In 1971, in photos of the Anglian dolls house in Do It Yourself magazine, the toile and the abstract pattern are used again:

There is a different design of flowers or foliage:

and a very groovy stone paper:

The 1975 dolls houses, the Bungalow and Block of Flats, are shown in colour in Do It Yourself magazine, so we have a better appreciation of the 1970s wallpapers.

The photograph of the Block of Flats (above) is not large enough to see all of the wallpapers very clearly. There appears to be a leafy green pattern at the top of the lift well, a green hessian, an abstract beige design we see more clearly in the Bungalow, and a large geometric pattern in brown and blue.

The Bungalow has three wallpapers. In the largest room, in the centre of the house, is the beige abstract design which also appears in the Block of Flats:

The two smaller rooms on either side of this have hessian wallpaper, in green and orange:

The roof section of the Bungalow is interesting too, as it appears to show a different black and white tile paper on the floor of the attic. From what I can make out, the black tiles are hexagonal; they are certainly not the usual diamond-shaped tiles.

1982 on

As I mentioned, the earliest of the post-1968 Hobbies Handbooks I have is that for 1982/83. In that catalogue, there are 18 numbered dolls house papers shown, plus flock papers in several colours. The papers are divided into an A range (papers for exterior walls, roofs and floors), and a B range (interior wall papers, ceiling paper, and crazy paving). 

The A range have all appeared in the photographs above, so were clearly available from the beginning of this period (in fact, they are the same papers that were available from Hobbies up to 1968). Most of the B range were subject to changes in fashion, so had shorter life spans, and were more expensive. As designs were retired and new ones added, old numbers were re-used for a new design, and then new numbers were added as the range expanded. The numbers run from 1 to 49, with only 35-39 missing. 34 was the number given to the last new design introduced in 1995, and I have no Hobbies Handbooks for 1996-2005. I suspect that there were papers numbered 35 to 39 which were both introduced and retired during this period. 

From 2006, the Hobbies Handbook offered other ranges of wallpaper in addition to those shown below, including an external paper collection exclusive to Hobbies. These can be seen on the Hobbies website, and I will not show them here. The Hobbies ranges B and C were gradually discontinued (and offered as 'end of range' assorted sheets) from 2009, so that from a total of 37-39 patterns (including the A range) available in 2006-2008, there were only 23 by 2011. While the whole A range is still available, the only B range papers still offered are white roughcast / embossed ceiling paper, crazy paving and woodgrain paper. No C range papers are still available.

A range:

  

No 1, Red Brick, available 1970 - 2014. (1E Embossed Red Brick also available from 1991.) 2. Natural Brick, available 1970s - 2014.

  

3 Green Pantile, available 1970-2014. 3R Red Pantile, available 1991-2014. 4 Grey Slate, available 1970s - 2014.

  

5 Grey Fort, as pictured 1970-1992; Fort Stone, as pictured 1993-2014.

9 Parquet floor, available 1970-2014

12 Crazy Paving, available 1970-2014. (In the B range 1982/3-1984/5, then in the A range from 1987.)

19 Black / White diamond tile paper, available 1970, 1987-2014

20 Flint Wall, available 1987-2014

B Range:

  

6 White Embossed Ceiling or Rough Cast, as pictured 1984/5 (l) and 2008 (r). Available at least 1970-2014.

  

7 Wood grain, available at least 1982-2014. Not to scale, and different details were pictured over the years. Above left, 1982-1987; above right, 1988-1989. Below left, 1990-1992; below right, 1995.

  

8 Mosaic Stone, available 1982-1989

  

10 Blue Floor, available 1982/83 (and probably earlier). 10 Gold / White, available 1984-2010.

  

11 Green Floor, available 1982/83 (and probably earlier). 11 Black / White, available 1984-1989

 13 Gold Stripe, available 1982 (at least) - 2011 (See also 26-28, blue, red and green stripe.)

  

Left: 14. Grey stripe, available 1982/3 (and probably earlier). Right: 14. Turquoise / Gold geometric pattern, available 1984-1989

  

Left: 14. Turquoise / Gold diamond lattice. Available 1990-1995 (or later). Right: 14. Turquoise / Gold Radnor. Available 2006 - 2010

  

Left: 15. Autumn leaf, available 1982-1989. Right: 15. Orange / White Leaf, available 1990-1995 (or later).

  

Left: 16. Green Hessian, available 1975-1987. Right: 16. Natural Hessian, available 1988-89.

  

Left: 16. Mustard Hessian, available 1990-1992. Right: 16. Natural Hessian, available 1993-1995 (and again/still) 2006-2008

  

Left: 17. Blue Floral, available 1982/83. (See also 18, red floral.) Right: 17. Lilac interior, available 1984/5. (See also 18 in yellow, 24 in blue, and 45 in gold.)

17. Blue interior, available 1987-1989. (See also 46, gold and white, and 47, red and silver.)

18. Red Floral, available 1982/83. (See also 17, blue floral.)

  

18. Yellow interior. Left, available 1984/85. (See also 17 in lilac, 24 in blue and 45 in gold.) Right, available 1987-1989.

  

Left: 21. Pink gingham interior, available 1987-1989. Right: 21. Pink interior, later called Pink Zodiac, available 1990-2011 (See also 43 in white/silver and 44 in blue.)

  

Left: 22. Gold / White feathered pattern, available 1990-1992. Right: 22. Yellow Embossed, available 1993-2009.

23. Gold on Red Fleur de Lys, available 1990-2010. (See also 29 gold on white, 40 black on white, 41 gold on green, 42 gold on blue fleur de lys.)

  

Left: 24. Tan / White stylised foliage on stripes, available 1990-1995. Right: 24. Blue / White Romsey, available 2006-2009  (See also 17 in lilac, 18 in yellow, and 45 in gold.)

25. Brown / Gold double lattice on stripes, available 1990-1995.

Numbers 26-34 are in the C Range. I do not have Hobbies Handbooks for 1996-2005, so all designs showing 2006 as the first year they were available were probably introduced sometime between 1996-2005. Also, as noted above, numbers 35-39 (if they existed) were probably introduced and retired during that time - I have no evidence of what they were.

40. Black on White Fleur de Lys, available 2006-2011.

  

41. Gold on Green Fleur de Lys, available 2006-2007. 42. Gold on Blue Fleur de Lys, available 2006-2011.

  

43. White / Silver Zodiac, available 2006-2008. 44. Blue Zodiac, available 2006-2011. (See also 21, Pink Zodiac.)

45. Gold on White Romsey, available 2006-2011. (See also 17 in lilac, 18 in yellow, and 24 in blue.)

  

46. White / Gold Galway, available 2006-2011. 47. Red / Silver Galway, available 2006-2011. (See also 17 in Blue.)

  

 48. White Silver Alpine, available 2006-2010. 49. White Silver Stripe, available 2006-2009.

  

G. Gold / Cream, available 2008-2011. X. Textured Red, available 2008-2011.

C Range:

When these wallpapers were introduced in 1995, they were shown on page 25, at the beginning of the dolls house section, while the other papers in the A and B ranges were at the end of the dolls houses, on page 40. The new range was described as 'B' Range, but at some point between 1995 and 1996, their code was changed from WPB to WPC, so I will show them in a separate group from the B papers.

26. Blue Stripe, available 1995-2008 27. Red Stripe, available 1995-2011 28. Green Stripe, available 1995-2010 (See also 13, Gold Stripe.)

29. Gold on White Fleur de Lys, available 1995-2010. (See also  23 Gold on Red, 40 black on white, 41 gold on green, 42 gold on blue fleur de lys.)

  

30. Mottled Red, available 1995-2009. 31. Mottled Yellow, available 1995-2006.

    

32. Mottled Green, available 1995-2008. 33. Mottled Orange, available 1995-2011. 34. Mottled Blue, available 1995-2008.

Flock Papers: 

These non-adhesive flock papers were introduced in 1984/85, with a range of five colours. In 2006, there was a range of eleven colours, which  decreased to 10 in 2009, and in 2010 and 2011 to 8. (Note that, although some colours kept the same numbers, the shade of most colours was different in 2006.) They are no longer available through Hobbies; whether they were available after 2011, I don't know.

Flock Papers F1 Green, F2 Red, F3 Gold, F4 Maroon, F5 Blue. 

Available 1984-1995.Flock Papers F2 Red (available 2006-2008), F1 Green and F9 Ruby (available 2006-2009), F3 Beige, F4 Blue, F5 Gold, F6 Maroon, F7 Silver Grey, F8 Bottle Green, F10 Old Rose, and F11 Dark Brown (all available 2006-2011).

Many thanks to Robert Stroulger and the present director of Hobbies, Andrew Meek, for permission to use the images in this article, and to Robert Stroulger also for his help with information about the company and his father, Ivan Stroulger. Any inaccuracies are mine.

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