Thursday, 29 November 2012

Kensington Christmas Festival

Last Saturday, being inside Kensington Town Hall was the perfect antidote to our miserable November weather. Engineering works on the Circle and District line had closed the tube at High St Ken, which meant the added hassle of waiting damply for buses but we got to the fair in good time nevertheless.

I made for the Sid Cooke stand where Steve and Megan Messenger were already very busy. Steve reported a growing interest in the large houses, whereas in recent years most customers have favoured smaller projects; it seems people may be turning to longer-term, home-based hobbies again. I took the opportunity to check out the completed Bon Marché model and was re-enthused by the scope it offers. Charlie Brennan's shop/house will be terrific when it's finished!

All too aware that I must install the electrics before going much further, I went and collected my order from Small World Products,

It consisted of a 12-switch power controller and more lights of various kinds. At the left end of the switch board, there's a black socket for the jack plug of the 3-Amp transformer that I bought from Martin last month - anything that simplifies this wiring business is what I like. And see the round pea bulbs? They're just the right scale for the incandescent bulbs we can no longer buy in real life. They will go under wide 'coolie' shades in the kitchen and bathroom, where they can be seen in all their functional glory.

We went right around the main exhibition hall. Twice. So much to see, including a good number of international exhibitors. 

Though not my era, I love everything that Delph Miniatures produce. You name it and these specialists in modern miniatures can provide it, from a complete hair salon to an OAP's mobility scooter.

Another favourite was the Fine Design stand and all the marvellous animals and birds made by Annie Willis, using fur and feathers recycled from items found in charity shops and jumble sales.

I stopped by Ray Storey to purchase a pair of 2-armed downlights for the shop ceiling. Very old-fashioned, even for 1948, but  these are left over from the days of the Bluebell Tea Rooms and, like the blue-painted exterior that he inherited from them, Charlie Brennan has never felt the need for a change. See

Colin and Yvonne Roberson's is another stand not to be missed. Their son Tim has produced a faux-bamboo range and I fell for a chair and the neatest little umbrella stand to furnish the house hallway,

The bentwood chair below is French, from Piamini. We don't seem to reproduce mini bentwood furniture in the UK, which is surprising since the classic Thonet chairs were once a staple of restaurants and classrooms everywhere. This looks too pristine for Brennans, I'm going to 'bash' it by spraying it brown and replacing the seat with a solid disc.

On the practical front, I plunged into Jennifer's of Walsall, who occupied a whole room in the lower foyer. It was rammed with customers, all armed with shopping lists. This was serious mini shopping and I added a couple of glazed doors, more flooring and brick cladding to my luggage, plus a Chrysnbon bathroom kit. 

Upstairs at DCT Miniature Fashions, I called in for one of the most important items on my schedule: three undressed dolls (plus wig hair for the men), discontinued lines from the late Joy Parker of Swallowhill dolls. 

Now you can meet the very earliest versions of Charlie Brennan, his son Frankie, and Edna the daily help.  What attracted me to these dolls when I found them online (apart from the very reasonable price!) were their facial expressions. I wanted Charlie to be a genial sort of fellow; and both Frankie and Edna have strong 'ordinary' faces with distinct character, neither impossibly handsome nor too pretty.

So much for the brand new stuff, I have been uncovering a few vintage pieces as well, which I'll show you next time.



  1. So happy to have found your Blog for all sorts of shared reasons, not least of which is that we like the same things/suppliers. I have JUST discovered SWP and Martin for example. You could do with a Followers link (?) My current project is which will also give you links to the other four!! I only started 2 years ago so am new to the game. Your caboodle is fabulous - green with envy.

    1. Thanks Em, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog and thanks also for your link(s), I can't believe you are that new to minis. I love the look of your projects, from what I've seen we do have quite a bit in common (even down to the ballet and Calam!). I'm afraid the heap of caboodle I've accumulated really reflects the length of time that I've avoided committing myself to a 'build' - far longer than I care to admit - so now, finally, this is it! Steve Messenger said he would like to display the finished version of Bon Marché at Kensington - that would be a great honour indeed but there's an awful long way to go yet.