Journalist Sandra Harding recently visited Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens and met with Adam Streeter, the General Manager, organising the restoration of the famous Dolls House Museum. Please see ‘Dolls House World’ for the full story:
“Many of you will have fond memories of the “Beyond the Dollshouse” exhibition, and I was there to check its condition and progress. The collection was the idea of the then owner of Leonardslee and it helped to attract visitors to both the collection and the park. It was conceived and made by Helen Holland and opened in April 1999, proving so successful that it was greatly expanded the following year.
“To mention just a few of its delights: there is a church, a big house, six workshops, nine individual shops, a department store and 30 automata. It is populated by 250 dolls, all made by Ann Lucas. The exhibition, housed in its own “walk around” room, is easily viewed, and is a detailed account of estate life on in the 1900s.
“To add a touch of reality here (and you know I don’t really do reality) the estate and collection has had a sad few years, after it was sold and closed to the public in 2010. The once beautiful gardens fell into a sad decline, and much of it became neglected and overgrown. The doll’s house collection was left to fend for itself but, being made so carefully, it has actually stood the test of time very well.
“The owners of Leonardslee since 2017 have taken on a massive task, and have spent the last year or more on a complete restoration of the gardens and estate. This includes opening the beautiful Grade 2 listed mansion house, to create a superb fine-dining restaurant and function setting, including weddings. Can you just imagine the superb photographs the happy couples will have? They have already almost completed a brand new family restaurant, cafe and farm shop which will be using locally sourced ingredients. There will also be a picnic area and play area for children.”
From ‘Dolls House World', Issue 309, June.
Dolls House World: leading dolls house magazine featuring 84 stunning pages of content from maker profiles and photo galleries to mini projects and more.