Must See Miniature Doll Collection at Searles in Greyton

Posted by The Cape Country Meander on Tuesday, January 07, 2014 with No comments
Searle’s Trading Post on the Main Road in Greyton is known for its unfussy but delicious comfort food and its sundry collectables. Each room is divided into an interesting pocket of vintage items, all of which are on sale. One such pocket includes an otherworldly olde English miniature doll experience, painstakingly rendered with a great deal of research, historical knowledge and affection.

The lady behind the collection

Originally from England, Nora Muscroft is a Greyton resident who started the original main house collection more than 20 years ago. She scoured fairs, read books, visited stately homes in England and set about creating a replica world with real characters and evidences of real life day-to-day circumstances. Her husband Martin also helped to recreate specific structural details including intricate cornices, ceilings and spectacular miniature lamp and chandelier lighting. The lights really work and must have taken ages to perfect. The display is so authentically real that even the grocer’s store is modeled on a real store of someone the Muscrofts knew in Headingley, West Yorkshire in England.

Come find your favourite scene, character, activity, or item

Take for instance, the two cleaners in one part of the manor house. One has a cigarette in her mouth is being reprimanded by the other for smoking on the job. On closer inspection you’ll notice she’s also being chided for the mud wheel stripes on the carpet left by the bicycle propped up against the wall. Look out for the deliberate broken ceiling tile. Peer closer into the room to see how the water that’s seeped through the tile has created tiny rivulets of damage to the wallpaper and left the corners peeling. Inspect carefully the scene with the old man reading his newspaper. His study is a collection within a collection. The walls, shelves and floor contain evidence of his travels from deepest Africa to India. Notice the butterfly collection on the wall, the Bengal tiger skin on the floor, and the ancient artifacts from Egypt.

On a typical Olde English Street

Outside the manor house the grocer is selling his store wares from cured meat hanging in the back to fresh sausage and an array of pies and tarts. The sweet shop is filled with candy canes, all sorts, lollipops and a scale ready to weigh your purchase. See the bridal emporium with its dresses and veils – all in white – and the fabric store with its tiny clippers, patterns, and delicate knitting needles. The pharmacist is pouring over his bottles, vials and beakers concocting something to soothe some ailment, imaginary or otherwise. And all of this is going on while young girls take their lessons in the schoolhouse.

Bring the whole family

One little boy wrote in the visitor book, “I don’t really like doles (dolls) houses but now I saw these, there (they’re) cool, pretty awesome”. You cannot help but be affected by the experience, even more so owing to the surprised expressions and animated exclamations from little people to grannies and grandpas. Nora Muscroft’s miniature doll experience costs absolutely nothing except for a little imagination. What sets her collection apart is her exceptional ability to tell stories. You half expect to hear conversations and see steam rising off dining platters.

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