Doll's house experience extended by demand

Tuesday 16th August 2016 1:00 pm

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THE first Doll’s House Experience at Alton’s Curtis Museum has proven so successful it is to remain open for the duration of the summer holidays, along with the Miniature World Trail.

Originally intended as a one off, designed to celebrate the story of the doll’s house, the event July 30 included a display of eleven houses and a model shop, as well as the launch of a range of doll’s house accessories.

Included in the exhibition was the Battye/Bibby House presented to the Curtis Museum by Colonel JD Bibby in 1953. He was the grandson of John Bibby, of Liverpool, the founder of the famous Bibby Shipping Line.

The house came from The Wakes in Selborne which had been the home of the donor’s mother, Hylda Bibby, until her death the same year. She had moved there in about 1910 and villager Mary Powell remembers visiting her grandmother during the holidays and being allowed to play with the doll’s house, which stood in the chilly area outside Gilbert White’s bedroom – but only when grandma was present!

Mrs Bibby’s mother, Mrs Battye, was widowed early and it is thought that the doll’s house was built in the 1860s or 1870s for her four young daughters, Hylda, Millicent, Norah and Marjori.

The Curtis Museum exhibition attracted visitors of all ages who enjoyed admiring and playing with the doll’s houses. The event held a particular attraction for doll’s house collectors, with one lady admitting to being the proud owner of 20 houses, and even a man putting up his hand to owning a miniature house.

The Curtis Museum has expressed grateful thanks to The Toy Shed on Cross and Pillory Lane in Alton for supporting the event.

Located on Crown Hill, the museum is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, and closed on Mondays.

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