Norwich Castle is home to vintage dolls’ houses

Small Stories, a V&A Museum of Childhood exhibition about the history of dolls’ houses, has opened at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery.

On display until June 25 are 12 dolls’ houses, which span the past 300 years, taking visitors through the history of the home, everyday lives and changing family relationships.

The ‘small stories’ of each house are told by the characters in the houses, which include country mansions, a Georgian town house, suburban villas, council estates and high-rise apartments.

Highlights include The Tate Baby House (pictured), dating from 1760, which was owned by five or six generations, passed down from mother to eldest daughter.

The Killer House was a gift from surgeon John Egerton Killer to his wife and daughters in the 1830s, and its story tells how servants struggled for cleanliness in the industrial city.

Whiteladies House was built in the 1930s and features chrome furniture, a cocktail bar and a swimming pool.

The Hopkinson House is based on the houses of London County Council’s 1930s suburb, and the interiors show a Second World War-era family, poised for an air-raid.

The finale of the exhibition is Dream House 2017, featuring imaginative rooms created by Norfolk architects, artists, makers, students, and school groups for the exhibition.

Meanwhile, Norwich Castle’s sister museum, Strangers’ Hall, will present a complementary programme of events and displays, drawing on the museum’s extensive toy collections.

A full programme of events is planned to accompany the exhibition, including lunchtime talks, school holiday activities and special workshops.

Cathy Terry, senior curator of social history at Norfolk Museums Service, said: “We’re very excited to be bringing the V&A Museum of Childhood’s wonderful Small Stories exhibition to the City.

“Research for the exhibition uncovered new characters and stories in the histories of these objects, and the V&A curators have used them to bring the houses to life in a fun and imaginative way.”