9 May – 8 November 2015
Historic dolls’ houses and miniature furniture made in the 1700s and 1800s make their first appearance in a public display.
The ten toy houses have been loaned by collector, conservator and historian Liza Antrim. Among them is the house that belonged to the children of local chocolate maker Francis Fry in the 1840s, as well as the oldest known model, made in c1762 and showing little evidence of ever having been played with.
Often the houses and furniture were produced by child labourers; under the direction Octavia Hill, youths at The Ragged Schools made fine and intricate items to be sold by the Ladies’ Guild under the label 'Art Toys'. Evans & Cartwright also used an infant workforce, who were responsible for pressing, soldering, japanning and painting miniature furniture items. Examples of these are displayed alongside the houses.