Trove of tiny treasures on show as crowd drawn to Leeds Dolls House Fair

A rare trove of tiny treasures in doll’s house form saw enthusiasts gather in Yorkshire at the weekend to share ideas and inspire artful creations.

The Leeds Dolls House Fair returned to Pudsey Civic Hall, with visitors turning up in droves to see a variety of wares from 24 of the country’s best-known traders.

This is a hobby where childhood reminiscence can be recreated in miniature, or whole worlds reproduced to one-twelfth scale.

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To enthusiasts, it’s a wonder of creation and inspiration, said organiser Gail Tucker, of MGM Fairs.

Leeds Dolls House Fair, held at Pudsey Civic Hall. Pictured Gail Tucker, Leeds Dolls House Fair organizer, and owner of MGM Fairs, and Merry Gourmet Miniatures, Wembworthy, Devon, with an example of her incredibly detailed miniatures from all periods of time. Writer: James Hardisty

“Part of the appeal, I think, is that lots of people like things that are a little bit small or cute. It’s an opportunity to replicate something in miniature,” she said.

“It’s also about that sense of nostalgia.”

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Some collectors might have a Victorian house for instance, Ms Tucker said, fashioning its decor from styles of the times, while others might recreate their own childhood home, recalling happy memories and good times.

Doreen Vincent, former organizer of the Leeds Dolls House Fair, owner of Small Wonders Miniatures in Idle, Bradford, setting up her stall before the doors open to the public. Image: James Hardisty

And it’s not just about doll’s houses, she added. There are “all manner of wonderful things” showcased at events such as these, from shops to windmills, churches and stables.

Ms Tucker herself creates tiny replicas of English period food, based in Devon with Merry Gourmet Miniatures.

The Leeds Dolls House Fair, which has been held twice a year since 1982, saw traders spread out their creations across 48 tables on Saturday.

There were artfully carved Edwardian figurines, miniature roast dinners, clay-sculpted jewels and finery all set to tiny scale.

Tom Murphy, of Rugby in Warwickshire, joint owner of Present Address Miniatures setting up one of their displays of 1/12th scale Dolls House Collectables before the doors open to the public. Writer: James Hardisty

Hobby

Among those exhibiting was Pauline Millard, of Weaverthorpe Dolls House Miniatures in Ryedale, who over recent years has crafted some 200,000 miniatures that sell worldwide, and who has seen a surge in interest as more people turn to the hobby.

Ms Tucker said the pastime has seen a particular interest since 2020, as many people had more time under lockdown and found joyful escape in creating such projects and furnishing doll’s houses.

She said: “It’s been a lifeline for people through lockdowns, as they concentrated on their hobbies. It really can capture the imagination.

Incredibly detailed miniatures from all periods of time made by Gail Tucker, Leeds Dolls House Fair organizer, and owner of MGM Fairs, and Merry Gourmet Miniatures, Wembworthy, Devon. Writer: James Hardisty

“People come to the fair for ideas, and to meet like-minded people. It’s been going a long time, and is very well thought of by hobbyists. We had a lot of very cheerful people.”

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Pauline Millard, of Weaverthorpe Dolls House Miniatures, Weaverthorpe, North Yorkshire, hold a figure of Henry VIII, the King of England from 22 April 1509 until his death in 1547. Writer: James Hardisty