The joy of nostalgia

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

28 July 2014

As unseasonal weather lashes at the windows here at The Dolls' House magazine office (dramatic thunderstorms started the day...and incredible hailstorms, and all this following days of a heatwave!) I'm in another world. Reading an article has taken me right back to my childhood when I watched Noggin the Nog, Bagpuss and The Clangers (my favourite ever childhood TV programme). As an adult I find it fascinating to discover the backstory to these delightful tales, and now I know all about the Nogs...and yes, they were sinister, but that was an essential part of their attraction...scary but safe.

A dose of nostalgia of course is behind every dolls' house - more obviously in those echoing a previous century. But even modern dolls' house carry a hint of rememberence - a faded fabric perhaps of a shabby chic residence, a favoured holiday destination recreated. Although it is also a carefully honed nostalgia as we recreate the best bits of the past...not the injustice, the inequality, the seedier aspects of life. Our dolls' houses tend not to show 'warts and all', and any 'grime' that we include is a carefully applied technique. 

There isn't anything amiss with this approach, and through all my years steering The Dolls' House magazine I've been careful to point this out - especially when meeting readers at Miniatura or The Kensington Dollshouse Festival. Being a dolls' house owner and author of two project books on making miniatures, I know how important it feels to 'get it right' when completing a dolls' house. But that 'right' might be someone else's 'wrong', the thing is not to worry about anyone else. It's your dolls' house, your style, in any way that you want it to be. Put in what you want, decorate how you want, and be proud of your achievements. Your dolls' house is your slice of history, your own little bit of nostalgia - revel in that fact!

You can read the feature which inspired this blog here:

Tops for Tudors

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

21 July 2014

I love British history - I think all dolls' house addicts do. We just love getting the details right and so a little research is all part of the fun. When an email popped into my inbox about a new reference source I thought I'd let you know about it. It concerns one of my favourite bunch of monarchs, the Tudors.

You can discover it here:

When it comes to the Kings and Queens of England the Tudors dynasty is endlessly fascinating. So far back in time there is the inevitable speculation about what really went on, so of course we will never know the reality. There are the numerous interpretations of films and tv series. The Tudors would appear to have all the hallmarks of a royal soap opera; intrigue, love rivals, power struggles, wealth, and gristly means of death.

You would think we would know it all when it come to the Tudors....but I bet there's more to discover yet!


Simply the best

Christiane Berridge

Christiane Berridge

16 July 2014

I was watching a television programme the other day about 'behind the scenes at Windsor Castle'. It was fascinating viewing as you can imagine for anyone who likes to know the nitty gritty behind events. And this is the Queen's home we're talking about - I know that she has several palaces, but this is a favoured weekend retreat. This put me in mind of a vist to Windsor Castle to see one of its star attractions - the Queen Mary Dolls' House. What indeed could be better on a summer's day; heritage, history and miniatures?

Windsor Castle

The Round Tower of the Castle dominates the town. Not suprisingly it is a busy tourist attraction and the day that I visited was no exception. Excited school groups moved like shoals of fish through the other visitors. Practically everyone had cameras and snapped away happily at the iconic edifce. But, no photographs were allowed inside the buildings, including the dolls' house, which was my first port of call.


There was a long queue waiting..but thoughtfully the Castle had laid on an example of fine military marching...


Boy, they must have been hot in those uniforms! You will have to read my resport in a future issue of The Dolls' House magazine to find out more about my visit to Windsor Castle.

In St George's chapel you will find the tombs of several notable Kings and Queens (incuding Henry VIII) and the simply achingly sympathetic one of the Princess Charlotte. She was the daughter of the Prince Regent and heir presumptive to the throne, she died at Claremont House after a labour lasting 51 hours in which she had given birth to a stillborn son.


And as for the TV programme that prompted my visit, I knew more about the State Apartments - and especially that magnificent dining room - as I toured the rooms. A truly grand day out!