Monday, March 29, 2010

"Collecting Short Storeys": Molly Fox's Dolls House Collection

Recently I scanned and uploaded to flickr some photos of Erna Meyer dolls in roombox settings from a book called Dolls' Houses - A Personal Choice, by Jean Latham (published in 1969).

My grandmother sent me the book in 1973. We visited her over Dec 1972 / Jan 1973, and saw the Lines' dolls' houses she had bought for us for the first time. I loved them, and my sister and I were inspired by them to create a mini scene from moss, pebbles, etc, on a tree stump in the garden. We visited the studio of Oxshott potter Rosemary Wren, and, among her pottery mice and birds, I spotted a china doll's head on a shelf. Rosemary said that she had found it on the Oxshott heath, and very sweetly gave it to me. I took it home to my grandmother, who was delighted, and called her Hitty. She planned to make a body for Hitty. After that visit, during 1973, my grandmother bought me the Cupboard House, destined to be Hitty's house (I've never known what actually happened to Hitty, or more accurately Hitty's head).

Long before I saw the actual house, my grandmother sent me Jean Latham's book, as it had photos of the Cupboard House in it. My grandmother bought the house from Miss Nancy Betteworth, who had bought it from "an American collector, Mrs Fox", who owned it at the time that it was photographed for the book.

The Victorian Cupboard House, as it appeared when Mrs Fox owned it.

I only recently realised that Mrs Fox also owned the Erna Meyer dolls pictured in the same book! I uploaded them to flickr because photos that are dated help to date the dolls themselves. Then I started thinking about Mrs Fox as a collector - one of the early collectors, like my grandmother, and someone who once owned a house which is now mine, and liked the Erna Meyer dolls I love. So I thought I'd try to do a bit of a profile of her. In the course of my research, I learned that Molly Fox called her first baby Rebecca (after the heroine of A Coat for a Soldier, about a girl who stitches a coat for an American soldier in the US war of Independence). So I feel that there are many connections between Molly Fox and me!

Molly Fox was born in the USA, at Fort Benning. Her father was in the US army, and was killed in WWII; later, her brother was killed in Korea. After that, she became a Quaker, and was delighted to acquire a Quaker dolls house, which had belonged to a Quaker girl born in Reading in 1784. She married an Englishman, and lived in London, where her employment included running training courses for executives at IPC and working at Sterling Professional Publications.

"We travelled around so much when I was a child, that I never had a proper dolls' house, though I made room settings in shoe boxes and orange crates. So perhaps my dolls' house collection is a compensation for that, and also for not having had a settled stable home. It is also escapism ... I can put a parlour maid, a cook, a nanny into different rooms. If I want a pink bedroom, instantly, there's a pink bedroom - and indulgence one can't afford in real life." (The Times, 1972)

Mrs Bernard Fox, as Jean Latham called her in the parlance of the time, began collecting in about 1965, and she was one of three collectors chosen by Jean Latham for her chapter entitled "Dolls' House Collecting Today", in Dolls' Houses - A Personal Choice. The others were Miss Faith Eaton (later author of The Ultimate Dolls House Book) and Mrs McQuade.

"The three collections described above are chosen almost at random from amongst an enormous number. They are not in the class of those who are lucky enough to be able to spend freely on anything that catches their roving fancy, foraging in the most expensive antique shops or the greatest salerooms. My three representative collectors have in common a flair for picking out gold from dross, unquenchable enthusiasm, a sense of history, good taste and unbounded energy in pursuit of their fascinating hobby."
At the time this book was written, Mrs Fox had five houses and furniture for another six rooms, which she kept on shelves in a cupboard.

One of Molly Fox's modern furniture room settings. Mrs Fox made the patchwork quilt, petit point needlework, "oriental" rug, and the doll's dolly made from toothpicks, herself.

One of the houses Mrs Fox owned at the time the book was written was, of course, the Cupboard House. The photographs above show it as furnished by her. The original pieces - the dining and drawing room fireplaces, the drawing room rug, the bedroom curtain, the tiny views of Hampton Court by the drawing room door - remain in the house, along with some that I suspect may have been added by Molly Fox or another owner - the kitchen and landing curtains, and the tapestry rug on the landing. Among the furnishings which Molly Fox had in the house, but which she (or the next owner) did not sell with it, are brass goblets in the kitchen made out of WWI bullets, and a kitchen dresser made by disabled veterans of that war. The kitchen range, ca 1860, looks very like the one my grandmother placed in the house, but I can't see it clearly enough to be sure. Molly Fox made the black and white pictures from illustrations "after Phiz" taken from Charles Dickens' novels.

Another, sadly not illustrated or described, was "Alexandra House, Finchley Road", from about 1914, "and peopled only by women as the men are all fighting in the war!"

Molly Fox's modern house, called "Dolly's House", dated to the 1920s. It had a brass nameplate, letter box and keyhole, and was built as a square, with rooms opening at both the front and the back. The house was mounted on a swivel platform, so that the kitchen, bathroom and laundry at the back could be accessed, as well as the four rooms at the front of the house.

Dolly's House, ca 1920s
The house, as you can see in this photo, has two storeys and a hallway, with stairs, running from front to back of the house. It was wired for lighting - even the fireplaces glowed red. The dining room had a hatch through to the kitchen (the hatch is just visible in the photo, on the left side of the bottom right room).
Molly Fox furnished this house with Barton and Dol-toi furniture and Grecon dolls. She added some American-made accessories, and framed postage stamps depicting Old Master paintings as pictures.

Dolls' Houses - A Personal Choice also describes Mrs Fox's late Georgian house, ca 1825, which had four rooms but no stairs. All the chimney pieces were built in, and, as Jean Latham puts it, "suitable fireplaces added", with a grate and stove in the kitchen. I'm not sure, but this phrasing suggests to me that the fireplaces may not have been original - not uncommon in houses of this age.
Molly Fox had traced the history of the house "as far back as the third generation of its owner", who was a Miss G. Baddeley, and so she called it Miss Baddeley's House.
This may be the dolls house mentioned in the 1972 article (see below), which says that one of Molly Fox's first purchases was a box of dolls' furniture in the Portobello Road, for £50. The man who sold it to her said "I'll give you the Georgian house that goes with it." Mrs Fox was sceptical, but the V&A verified from samples of the wallpaper that the house was pre-Victorian.

Possibly the kitchen of Miss Baddeley's House? The caption reads, "The kitchen of a late Georgian house. The pink and grey wallpaper is modern. The maid who is cleaning the old Britannia metalware is in her original clothes. Notice the chamber candlestick with the snuffer on a chain."

Molly Fox had repapered the house with modern wallpaper (I do hope she left the original paper underneath, as this is vital for future owners wanting to verify the date or origins of a house!), and furnished it with a towel rail complete with an old linen towel, a toilet mirror and chest of drawers with an ivory hand miror, and a sideboard containing unusual ivory tablespoons and knives and a rare cradle (I think this may mean ladle?).

Some of the pieces from Miss Baddeley's House. The furniture was described as "Duncan Phyfe" in Jean Latham's captions; this term had been used by Vivien Greene until her research in the then GDR identified the manufacturer as Gebrüder Schneegas. The doll on the left wears a dress made by Molly Fox from antique silks, ribbon and velvet; the gentleman doll wears his original velvet suit with scarlet silk lining and revers, and a shirt with minute tucks sewn with tiny stitches.

I've also found an article in The Times of 1st April, 1972, 'Collecting short storeys', by Bevis Hillier. From this, I learnt that Mrs Molly Fox founded the Dolls' House Society in 1970 as an offshoot of the Doll Club of Great Britain.
"We are the Jesuits of the doll world," Mrs Fox says. "To qualify for membership, you have to own at least a nineteenth-century dolls' house, and you have to have a skill - woodworking , repairs, needlework or so on. Among our members, for example, Mrs Beryl West has made an exquisite silver Queen Anne teapot. She also has a lathe for turning miniature furniture, and she makes tapestry carpets. Mrs Winifred Warren is a needlework teacher, and makes pillow lace with bobbins. Miss Faith Eaton is a specialist in doll repair, especially wax faces. She has done repairs for Buckingham Palace and many major museums."

For their AGM, the members of the Dolls' House Society held 3 day weekends. In 1971, they stayed at Shepton Mallet and visited the American Museum at Bath and Titania's Palace (then at Wookey Hole). In 1972, they planned to stay at Fittleworth in Sussex, and view Lady Samuelson's collection of dolls' houses, and the Uppark dolls' house.

At the time the newspaper article was written, Mrs Fox owned what she described as a small-scale model of the first commercially made house, with bay windows and a balcony (ca 1885-1890), bought for £25. This sounds like it could have been a boxback-type house, which were sold by companies such as Silber & Fleming (established ca 1860), C. E. Turnbull (established 1872), and G. & J. Lines (ca 1890s). Much of what we now know about these firms was of course only just being discovered in the early 1970s.

Also in her collection was a Seaside Villa, ca 1890-1910, purchased for £50 - the photo below shows some of the dolls in the Seaside Villa preparing for a night at the opera. The dolls and furniture usually cost more than the house - the dolls in the Seaside Villa were priced at £100.

The prize of her collection was a 1775 house (perhaps an architect's model) with a distinguished neo-classical facade, which she bought at a shop called The Lacquer Chest, Church Street, Kensington.

A shop she recommended for collectors was The Dolls' House, at 4 Broadley St, NW8 (ph 723-1418). It stocked a wide range of houses, from cardboard houses at £1 to a ca 1830-1850 wooden house at £160. In the mid-range at the time of the article were four pretty French houses with balconies at about £38 each. The Dolls' House specialised in reproduction hand-made furniture - it was, said Mrs Fox, a good idea for the beginner to furnish their houses with reproduction pieces, and gradually replace the new with old pieces as they were able to acquire them.

Molly Fox herself did just that, buying artisan-made reproduction furniture for her Georgian houses. In an instance of serendipity, one of a set of 6 issues of International Dolls' House News, which I bought last year from a collector who was disposing of her duplicate issues, has an article by Molly Fox! The article (My Missing Treasures, IDHN 6:1 Spring 1977) is about miniature furniture which had been stolen, and which had been destined for her Georgian dolls' house (which had been featured in the IDHN of Summer 1975, if anyone has that issue).

The globe pictured here had been bought at Willoughby's 18th Century, in California. The library furniture were bought from a London dealer. "The collection had belonged to Anna Massey, the actress, so I was able to put a possible date on the furniture. I think it was made in the Forties and Fifties and purchased in New York at the oft-mentioned shop on East 53rd St. One of the drawers of the sideboard had a trade sticker of E. Kautter."

Mrs Fox also lost some pine kitchen furniture made by Warren Dick, a hooded mahogany cradle from the Chestnut Hill Studios, and a small bureau bookcase which had a twin in the display cases at Windsor Castle, and probably dated from the 1920s.

Molly Fox's husband Bernard made the longcase clock and "Queen Anne" chair in this room setting; Molly Fox herself made the carpet and screen in petitpoint needlework. Most of the furniture is modern American, but the butler's tray and folding stand are English. Fimo was not available when Mrs Fox started collecting; she and fellow members of the Dolls' House Society "cooked" and painted plaster of paris food!

She had begun to replace the furniture she lost, buying from artisans working in the 1970s: a four-poster bed from J. Huthwaite of Coventry, an oak trestle table by Don Slater, a basket spit by Alf Atkins, and Regency chairs and a pedestal table described as "made in Columbia and bought at FAO Schwartz in New York". This last sounds like Sonia Messer (Lynnfield/Block House), which is still much sought after by collectors. I'm not familiar with the other names myself, but perhaps some of their furniture is also appearing in online and live auctions?

Perhaps some other UK-based collectors will know whether Molly Fox still has her dolls' house collection. Of the eight houses mentioned in the book and newspaper article, I know that she sold at least one (the Cupboard House). I wonder where the others are now - Miss Baddeley's House, Dolly's House, and the others? If they have new owners, do those owners know that their house was at one time owned by Molly Fox? Unlike real houses, dolls' houses unfortunately don't come with title deeds, and a few changes of ownership can be enough for any history that earlier owners have discovered to be forgotten.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I've learned how to change the date of a post!

Thank you, Nicola! I had never clicked on Post Options when I was writing a post - and there are windows for the date and time of a post :-)) Quite easy to change, as Nicola said.

So now I don't need to do posts like this:

My new post is here: "Collecting Short Storeys": Molly Fox's Dolls House Collection. Because I started it 3 weeks ago, that's where it shows up in the list of blog posts!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Woops! My latest post is still The Rosetta Stone Award

I'm working on another post, but pressed Publish by mistake, instead of Save Draft. So The Rosetta Stone Award is still my latest post, while I finish the other one.

Now I know how you get thumbnails and links to blog posts in the blogroll, which don't go anywhere! It's so easy to do.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Rosetta Stone Award

Recently I was presented with the Rosetta Stone Award by My Realitty's dolls. I am very honoured - especially as the award was just created by CM and her dolls, so I am the very first recipient (and it's quite exciting to know someone who created a blog award!).

The Rosetta Stone Award, I am informed, is a serious award for scholarship on the history of dollhouses. The dolls said,

This is the first "Rosetta Stone Award". It is given to a dollhouse blogger who has contributed greatly to the information of dollhouse history.

As we all know dollhouses were originally the hobby of rich women or tools to teach girl children to keep house.

Today women all over the world are interested in them. Note the number of bloggers and that Dollhouse blogs are a world unto themselves. Though these houses started as toys and may have led a perilous life, once they are in the harbor of the collector they have a story to tell. This award is to acknowledge the sleuthing it takes to discover that story.

Furthermore this award is issued to only one person, must be kept for 6 months then passed on to another worthy recipient. There are many worthy of this award... ... and this year we are bestowing it on... Rebecca of Rebecca's Collections for her serious and valuable work on English dollhouses.

Thank you very much, CM and your dolls! I appreciate it very much - especially as I completely agree that there are many worthy of the award, and I know that the research I do follows on from the work that others have done.

As some of you know, I love family history research. Researching my own family can be particularly moving, but I also love the thrill of the hunt, when one clue leads on to another - or when you get a bit stuck, and try to think of other ways to approach the problem. I started researching dolls house firms when an article on dolls houses made or sold by the firm C. E. Turnbull was published in the first issue of the Dolls Houses Past and Present online magazine. The author stated that not much was known about the firm, not even an address.

Well, that was a challenge I couldn't resist - and quite an easy one to solve, as this London-based firm existed from the late 19th to the early 20th century, a time for which the UK censuses are available to search online.

So that got me started - and now Florine of My Vintage Dollhouses and other treasures and I are researching the history of dolls houses made by Keystone of Boston, Massachusetts!

I thought about how to celebrate this award - and I decided to make a scene rather like the room where I do my research. I've borrowed the downstairs living room of the Bodensee and filled it with books (borrowed from many other houses too), on bookcases squeezed in everywhere they can fit, with dolls houses on shelves, trolleys, the floor ... and Linda Kimber is modelling me doing research (or possibly browsing ebay ;-) ) on the computer!

I put this scene together, and photographed it - and then thought, but where are the boxes? Because my study has lots of boxes in it - boxes of dolls house furniture I've just received, boxes of stored dolls house furniture, the original boxes for dolls houses and sets of furniture .... So I added some boxes!

It looks like my sister's cats have come to visit, as mine are both black. But they do like to sit with me when I'm working on the computer :-)

Thanks again, CM and your dolls!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day

For those who are Irish, or have Irish ancestry, today is celebrated as St Patrick's Day.

My only Irish ancestors (that I know of) are my great-great-great-great-grandparents John and Clotilda Smith, who emigrated from Ireland to the United States in about the 1820s. I don't know much about where they came from - try finding a John Smith in any country! - although I have discovered that the information my Californian great-grandmother recorded in a book that her father was given by his grandmother was not correct. It seems that Clotilda Smith came from County Sligo, not County Cork (and her maiden name was Elliot, which should be a bit easier to trace than Smith).

Anyway, St Patrick's Day seems like a good time to show this little Erna Meyer doll, still in his original packaging. He looks like a leprechaun to me, dressed in his orange cap and cape, green outfit and brown boots - and I think he is carrying a bag of gold!!!

Perhaps he was made as a decoration, as he has a string loop attached to his back.

The back of the packet shows the name of the original seller, Georg Fleisswolf of Rothenburg, the doll's number, 635, and the original price - 6.50 DM.

Happy St Patrick's Day - and happy day whenever you read this!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Romside Metal Dolls House Components

I wrote this article for the August 2009 issue of Dolls Houses Past and Present magazine. Some of you may have read the article there, and seen the wonderful photo of a shop display of Romside components contributed by Eleanor.

I thought I'd post my article here as well, as 1) the back issues of the magazine aren't available on DHPP at the moment, and 2) I've realised that even the issue that is online at the time is not accessible to online search engines, so anyone trying to find info online doesn't see the magazine articles.

So this is not my usual style of post - it's a write-up of research into the history of the firm, using online resources familiar to me through family history research.

My Tudor Toys/Gee Bee house and shop, with Romside windows and door.

Romside Manufacturing Co made metal components for dolls houses, such as stairs, fireplaces, chimneys, shutters, windows and doors. Some companies, such as Tudor Toys / Gee Bee and Pennine, used Romside windows in their dolls houses, and the components were also available through Hobbies for use in dolls houses made at home following Hobbies’ plans.

Often, these dolls houses are confused with Tri-ang, a much better known firm. The easiest way to distinguish them is that most Romside windows have diamond shaped lattice panes, while Tri-ang houses almost always have square or rectangular panes.

My Lines DH/D from 1926, showing the typical metal window frames.

The inside of my Triang 52 (ca 1939) ground floor bay window, again with typical square paned metal window frames.

However, Romside also made square paned windows, the difference being that the Romside ones open. Lines did use diamond shaped lattice windows on some designs (eg in the Queen’s Doll’s House), but generally if a dolls house has original diamond shaped lattice windows, it is not Lines / Tri-ang.

Romside metal lattice windows, rectangular-paned windows, and door, from a certain website. (Not my photo.)

In her book A to Z 1914 to 1941 Dollshouses, Marion Osborne shows an advertisement from a Hobbies Annual, and says that apart from this, and one appearance in Games and Toys, Romside was a very elusive firm. She was told that there was a connection with Dixon Bros & Wood, a company which made metal toys, including large scale dolls’ furniture, before WWII.

Here is a little more information about these firms, from phone books and censuses, etc.
The first appearance of the name Romside in British telephone directories is in 1930, for a Sports Club! Romside Sports Club was listed at Brooklands ho[use], North St, Romford (1930-1948).

Romside Manufacturing Co. Ltd Engineers first appears in the telephone directory, above the Sports Club’s listing, in May 1938, at 119 North St, Romford, ph. Romford 2791. In the November 1938 directory, until 1942, the address is given as “rear of 147 North St, Romford” (same phone number).

Romside metal chimneys (not my photo)

From 1943 - 1947, the firm appears as “Romside Manufacturing Co. Ltd Engrs, Metal Stampers, 147 North st ph *Romford 2791”. So, to whatever engineering services the firm had supplied, they now added metal stamping. I imagine that during the war years their output would have been directed to the war effort.
From 1948 until 1964, the description “engineers, metal stampers” continues. The address changed in 1948 to Brooklands approach, North St, Romford.
In 1966, the description “engineers’ was dropped, and the firm is simply “Romside Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Mtl Stampers, 2 Brooklands app ph Romford 62286”. This entry continues through until 1973.

Romside lattice windows (not my photo)

An internet search on Romside found these references in Wikipatents:
“Improvements in and relating to hand tools GB Patent # GB603524 Abstract Trowels. DIXON, C. L., and ROMSIDE MANUFACTURING CO., Ltd. Oct. 23, 1945, No. 27890.
“Improvements in hand tools GB Patent # GB611198 Abstract Handle fixings. DIXON, C. L., and ROMSIDE MANUFACTURING CO., Ltd. April 25, 1946, No. 12484.”

(At least, that's what I found when I searched in May last year! Such is the speed of change on the internet, the same search now brings up this information on Intellectual Property Exchange, AND it names the applicant as "Cecil Leopold Dixon, Romside Mfg Company Ltd". But a year ago, all I found was C. L. Dixon, so my research proceeded without knowing what C. L. stood for.)

Here is the name Dixon, which Marion Osborne had been told was connected to Romside! Back to the telephone directories – C.L. Dixon is listed at 31 Sheila rd Romford, ph Romfrd 3982, from 1954 to 1960 (the address and phone number change to 31 Sheila rd Collier row Romford 43982). From 1961 to 1966, C.L. Dixon has the same phone number, but has moved to 132 Cambridge av Gidea Pk.

So it seems likely that C. L. Dixon was an engineer with Romside Manufacturing Co. Ltd (we’d probably need company records to know exactly what his role was). But where had he come from, and was he part of Dixon Bros & Wood, as Marion Osborne had been told?

Romside fireplace (not my photo)

According to Mrs Osborne, Dixon Bros appeared in the Toy and Fancy Good Trader in 1915 and 1917, and Dixon Bros & Wood appeared from 1934-1937. The advertisements included in A to Z 1914 to 1941 Dollshouses show metal kitchen sets, mangles and scales, metal bureaux with a faux wood finish, and bedroom furniture for large dolls. Dixon Bros and Wood were one of the British firms exhibiting and selling toys at an exhibition in Paris in 1936; probably the "striking set of metal kitchen ranges and household toys" were theirs. I don't have any DBW pieces; KT Miniatures has a photo of a "DBW TOYS" yellow metal kitchen cupboard. Update: Lizzie at The Dolls House Diaries has posted some lovely DBW kitchen pieces on her blog.

Dixon Bros & Wood first appears in the London telephone directory in February 1932, as Dixon Bros & Wood Ltd, Automatic Mchns, 92 Harrow rd E.11 ph LEYtnstn 1252. By August 1932, they had moved to 7 Forest lane E.15 ph MARyland 4461. By August 1933, their street number has changed to 1A Forest Lane, and the description has changed from Automatic Machines to Engineers. Toy Manufacturers is added to the description in 1935. This listing continued through 1938.
This unfortunately doesn’t give us their names. It would have been much easier too if C. L. Dixon had used at least his first name! However, after searching birth and death records and censuses, I think I have found the right family.
In the 1911 census, a family of Dixons is living at 185 High Road, Leyton, Essex. Marion Osborne notes an entry for Dixon Bros at Buckland Road, Leyton, in Toy and Fancy Good Trader for September 1917. So the address fits.
The members of the family are Walter, the head, an engineer change hand, born in Hull, Yorkshire; his wife Ellen; and three sons: Walter, aged 26, an engineer’s fitter, Cecil, aged 23, also an engineer’s fitter, and Ralph, aged 19, a shop assistant.
Thus Dixon Bros were probably Walter and Cecil Dixon, both engineer’s fitters. I have no idea who Wood was!

Romside rectangular-paned windows (not my photo)

Tracing the Dixon family back through the censuses, we find that in 1901, the family is living at 33, Citizen Road, Islington; father Walter is a Zinc Plate Worker, son Walter is an engineer’s apprentice, and Cecil is still at school. In 1891, sons Walter and Cecil were 6 and 3 respectively; the family was living at 10, Rodney Street, Clerkenwell, and father Walter J. Dixon is described as a “General Smith”. In 1881, Walter J. had not yet married – he was a Whitesmith, living at the Golden Lion, 8, Penkhull Street, Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire. In 1871, Walter J. was a merchant’s clerk, and living at home at 10 Temple Court, High Street, Kingston Upon Hull. His older brother Arthur Henry Dixon, aged 20, was a Watchmaker and Jeweller. It seems that between 1871 and 1881, Walter decided that metalworking was more exciting than being a clerk!
The Dixon family were also at this address in 1861, when Walter J. was 4. His father, James Dixon Junior, is described as a Bank Messenger and Preserver of Birds [could this mean pigeon keeper?]. His mother’s brother Henry Lawson was also living with them – he was a Whitesmith + Bellhanger (Journeyman). Walter’s grandfather James Dixon lived next door – he was a tailor, so it seems likely that the metal working tradition came from Walter Dixon’s mother’s family. (James Dixon was born in King’s Cliffe, Northamptonshire, where my maternal grandfather’s ancestors came from. I am probably related to him by marriage, as my 3x great uncle married a Dixon in King’s Cliffe in 1844!)

I think these blue and yellow window frames, etc, are also Romside, but I'm not sure. (Not my photos.)

To summarize:
Dixon Bros advertised metal toys from 1915 to 1917. Dixon Bros & Wood Ltd, engineers and toy manufacturers, is known from 1932-1938. The sources I’ve had access to don’t show whether the firm existed in the 14 years from 1918-1931. The brothers were most likely Walter (1885-?) and Cecil Leopold Dixon (1888-1967).
In 1938, Romside Manufacturing Co. Ltd, Engineers (and later Metal Stampers) appears at Romford; C.L. Dixon was definitely connected with this firm. Romside existed until at least 1973.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Modern Australian Bungalow 1971

Well, after a post about houses I didn't win or bid on, here is the house that arrived this week. I won it (for the grand total of $3.25) last year, and went with my sister to pick it up from the Sydney suburb of Baulkham Hills in October. (She bought it for me!)

It's a bungalow made in 1971 by a master builder, the grandfather of the woman I bought it from. Architecturally, it's quite simple, perhaps influenced by post-war austerity style houses, with a hint of abstract. The roof is metal, and almost flat - sloping wooden beams give it a very slight pitch. The roof opens on hinges at the back, to give access to the inside of the house.

However, Graham and Linda Kimber, who live here, prefer to use the front door. You have met them before, demonstrating different Erna Meyer scales. (I'm not sure how Graham manages the door-knob; he must have very strong arms, I think.)

The interior has been decorated with wallpaper and carpet from the seller's parents' house and her grandparents' house.

To the right of the hallway is the open plan living and dining room, and straight ahead is the kitchen, with the back door opening out of it. (Well, it would if there was a back door, but there isn't one now, just the doorway.)

To the left are the bedrooms - a large master bedroom, and a small children's bedroom - and the bathroom.

The carpet in the living /dining areas and hallway is the same as in my mother's living / dining rooms and hallway, but in a different colourway.

(Here is my mother's cat Sophie
demonstrating how well she matches the carpet in Mum's hallway.)

It looks like all the windows originally had curtains, but apart from the kitchen and bathroom, only one set of curtains remains, in the living room.

As you can see, several wallpaper designs are used in the living areas, and the bedrooms also have different patterns on each wall. The children's bedroom is bright and colourful, but quite small (typical of second bedrooms in real houses of this period).

The master bedroom is much larger, and also has pretty wallpaper:

Linda is contemplating what furniture she could buy for this lovely spacious room. (The business of moving to a new house seems to be causing both Linda and Graham to pull their hair out. I hope they get settled soon, before they lose it all!)

The bathroom and kitchen are quite small. The bathroom has a built-in toilet, bath, basin, mirror and towel-rail, and bright lino on the floor:

The kitchen has very cheery wallpaper, and a hand-painted curtain.

As the bathroom has plastic furnishings (Jean, I think?), I think I'll use moulded plastic furniture in the kitchen too. I've tried out a couple of sets - green Kleeware:

and cream and pale green Blue Box:

I prefer the green - just slightly larger, and more in keeping with the bright wallpaper and curtain, I think.

I have some furniture for this house - I plan to use the dining table and chairs from Oese here - but I think Graham and Linda will need to visit Tim's secondhand shop, and buy some furnishings through catalogues and auctions. We'll keep you posted!