A miniature copy of the Sept. 3, 1936, edition of the Daily Colonist is just one of the intricate details found in Hodgson House, a dollhouse recently donated to Miniature World.
Gordie Hodgson was a woodworker and house builder by trade. When he wasn’t putting up structures, he could be found in his basement, meticulously constructing dollhouses. His last — and possibly his crowning achievement — will soon join others already on display at the tourist attraction.
Hodgson, who died in 1980, spent decades at his hobby. Three other dollhouses made by him are already on display at Miniature World: the Tara dollhouse, St. Mary’s Church and the English Tudor Manor.
“His work was a source of pride for the family,” said Roseanne Harvey, his grandniece. “He and my great-aunt, Kay, would go bonkers over the details.”
The two of them would build what they could and mail-order the rest. Handmade items would include cross-stitched carpets on the floors and all the architectural details of a two-storey home.
Attention to detail is evident in this Lilliputian world of tiny household furnishings, such as a hairbrush and a bottle of perfume revealed inside the drawer of a dresser in the bedroom.
“As kids, we were never allowed to touch them,” said Harvey, who inherited the house after her great-aunt passed away in 2017.
She suspects her great-aunt and uncle kept this dollhouse because it was different from the others — the front of the house is hinged, so it can be opened to admire the contents within.
The other houses at Miniature World have fixed walls, so one has to peek in through the windows to see the interior.
She noted that portraits of members of the family hang from the walls, giving it a more personal touch.
She has donated the house to Miniature World due to a lack of space in her basement and the desire to see it go to a good home.
Hodgson House will undergo cleaning and refurbishment “to make it look beautiful” before going on display, said Megan Kellar, manager of the attraction.
“Miniature houses represent a labour of love for the people who created them. More often than not, they are sticklers for accuracy for the period they represent,” said Kellar.
“This makes all of the houses made by the Hodgsons extra special.”
The attraction has a room dedicated to dollhouses, with seven on display and another three in storage.
She said that offers of dollhouses are “not a call we get a lot” as it is somewhat of a dying hobby. However, she said that the internet has made it easier for hobbyists to find materials and connect with others still interested in pursuing the activity.
“We have our own measure of interest — we measure it by the number of forehead bunts we find on the plexiglass that surrounds an exhibit. The more bunts indicate people are excited to see the exhibit and want to get closer to examine it.
“We are always cleaning up in the dollhouse room.”