Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: York Castle Museum, dolls and doll houses

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Those of you that follow my other blog, Robbie’s Inspiration, will know that I have a great fashion for dolls and have a big collection. My bigger than my rock and fossil collection [but smaller than my book collection – smile].

Everywhere I go, I look for dolls. I was lucky enough to visit York Castle Museum in August 2019 and found these wonderful dolls houses [all of which have doors] and some smashing dolls too.

This is a Victorian dolls house. Each section has its own door that opens and closes.

The second dolls house is called ‘Dulce Domum’ which means ‘Sweet Home’. It belonged to 8-year old Phyllis Dulce from Warwich who received it as a gift in 1895. The house had pets, servants, real electric lighting and a working door bell. The furniture came from Britain, Germany and Japan. Some of the bed linen is thought to have been made by Phyllis herself.

In honour of Punch and Judy, this is an extract from What Katy Did Next by Susan Coolidge:

“The first of Katy’s “London sights” came to her next morning before she was out of her bedroom. She heard a bell ring and a queer squeaking little voice utter a speech of which she could not make out a single word. Then came a laugh and a shout, as if several boys were amused at something or other; and altogether her curiosity was roused, so that she finished dressing as fast as she could, and ran to the drawing-room window which commanded a view of the street. Quite a little crowd was collected under the window, and in their midst was a queer box raised high on poles, with little red curtains tied back on either side to form a miniature stage, on which puppets were moving and vociferating. Katy knew in a moment that she was seeing her first Punch and Judy!

The box and the crowd began to move away. Katy in despair ran to Wilkins, the old waiter who was setting the breakfast-table.

“Oh, please stop that man!” she said. “I want to see him.”

“What man is it, Miss?” said Wilkins.

When he reached the window and realized what Katy meant, his sense of propriety seemed to receive a severe shock. He even ventured on remonstrance.

“H’I wouldn’t, Miss, h’if h’I was you. Them Punches are a low lot, Miss; they h’ought to be put down, really they h’ought. Gentlefolks, h’as a general thing, pays no h’attention to them.”

But Katy didn’t care what “gentlefolks” did or did not do, and insisted upon having Punch called back. So Wilkins was forced to swallow his remonstrances and his dignity, and go in pursuit of the objectionable object. Amy came rushing out, with her hair flying and Mabel in her arms; and she and Katy had a real treat of Punch and Judy, with all the well-known scenes, and perhaps a few new ones thrown in for their especial behoof; for the showman seemed to be inspired by the rapturous enjoyment of his little audience of three at the first-floor windows. Punch beat Judy and stole the baby, and Judy banged Punch in return, and the constable came in and Punch outwitted him, and the hangman and the devil made their appearance duly; and it was all perfectly satisfactory, and “just exactly what she hoped it would be, and it quite made up for the muffins,” Katy declared.

Then, when Punch had gone away, the question arose as to what they should choose, out of the many delightful things in London, for their first morning.”

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79 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: York Castle Museum, dolls and doll houses

  1. I too love dollhouses. The best one I ever saw was Queen Mary´s Doll House in Windsor Castle. It is just amazing. I brought home a delightful book all about it. The York Castle Museum is very special. So much to see. A delightful post.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I love dolls’ houses and toy museums. It also strikes me that every generation thinks modern children have too many toys and are over indulged. Those beautiful dolls’ houses must also have been for the rich child who had everything!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Well, Janet, I suppose the difference is that it was very few children during Victorian times who would have been indulged like this [the family was very wealthy], but now lot of middle class children have far more than they can every use and its all made of plastic.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. for some reason, I am a bit fascianted with dollhouses, or as I like to call them, miniature houses. The detail that can be found in such houses is amazing. And it’s not surprising that books are your biggest collection…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Hi Robbie, I went to school in York but fled across the Pennines to go to Uni in Liverpool where I remained for almost 30 years until we came here. I remember the horse and carriage very well. Look forward to seeing your post next week!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Those are amazing! I remember having a doll house I never played with. Seeing, these, all I can think about is all the dusting that would be required!

    What I love best about your Thursday Doors post is that you post them on Saturdays. Yes!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I remember that you like dolls. I do too, although I have never collected them. My younger daughter still has her dollhouse–not nearly as elaborate as that one! She used to make things for it too. (K)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I have no idea what happened to the ‘tin’ doll house with plastic furnature that I share with my sister went.
    Lovely doll houses. I think I read that now Punch and Judy have been banned (in London) ~ due to the violent nature sending the wrong message to young ones. Like pratt-fall comedy… some times it isn’t funny at all.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Like some of the statuary of history that folks are ‘taking’ down (sometimes distrespectfully) here. Hubby says if we took down every statue of everyone who had any faults there would be no statues at all.

        We tend to want to romanticize the good of someone for the public view. But if we did deep enough we can find fault with everyone. We need to not mask the history so we can learn from it.

        If we take things in proper context then maybe we wouldn’t repeat historic mistakes. I think it is also hard to change the view of something that has been gifted significance for years. Especially when speculation is probable but no actual proof exists.

        Some great leaders (due to the times they lived where such behavior was accepted ~ especially if keep ‘secret’) were not really very nice people at all. Does my country take every president who owned slaves and discredit those men?

        Some of the great historical woman figures remain in the dark because no one wrote about them. Because even today in some respects it is a man’s world. Which has always seemed strange to me since women out populate the men on the planet.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. So many memories come back when I see doll houses. What I appreciate most about doll houses is that they crystallize time, much like a photograph. They give us an intimate look into how families lived in the past. Furniture, wall paper designs, lighting, dishes, clothes. Most of all they are a reminder that we have a profound love for home and belonging. A marvelous post and a most excellent discussion.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I love doll houses and these are fabulous, Robbie. I was never into dolls, though, except for Barbies and I still have my old collection with clothes and case that my daughter played with when she was little. Beautiful and fascinating post.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You would love the Bethnal Green Museum, Robbie we always had dolls houses as children and my parents passed mine down to my children they, in turn, loved the tiny furniture as do their children and there was no surprise when Lily asked for one this year…A job for grandad…beautiful images and a delightful post 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, they are two different things. Doll houses are little tiny and detailed homes and vintage or antique doll houses teach us a lot about the past and how people lived. Dolls are quite different and a lot of people find antique dolls creepy.


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