Barbara Hadlow's Dollhouse


The dollhouse was started, extended and furnished by the late Barbara Hadlow over a period of 15 years. She had spent her whole career working in residential children’s nurseries, starting in 1956 aged 16 at Hitchen Hatch, Sevenoaks. At the age of 26, she was in charge of a nursery in East London, but during the 1970s, residential nurseries were being phased out, so she was able to continue her calling by being in charge of Highlands Nursery, in The Hockering.

Highlands was one of 53 residential homes run by Surrey County Council over the years, having been requisitioned in 1952, but it, too, closed in 1981, and Barbara spent her retirement in Goldsworth Park writing her memoir, Making a difference: a lifetime in child care. She also looked after children, including babies needing social care, adopting a girl, and working on the dollhouse.

The main inspiration for the house was her first post at Hitchen Hatch, but it also has features of Highlands. The house is 4 feet tall and wide, with eight rooms, all furnished with great attention to detail. For instance there are curtains, vegetables in the kitchen and a small Scrabble set in the lounge. The figures wear clothes knitted and sewn by Barbara, the bath has taps and a plug, and there is electric lighting in each room.

This display shows some of the many pieces of miniature furniture and fittings, and pictures of more items. 

For further close ups visit the dedicated page on Get Surrey.

See the artefacts on display outside  Woking's Story.

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