A craft dollhouse created by former Esquimalt residents Kay and Gordie Hodgson during the mid to late 1900s will soon find a new home at Miniature World. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

A craft dollhouse created by former Esquimalt residents Kay and Gordie Hodgson during the mid to late 1900s will soon find a new home at Miniature World. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Esquimalt woman passing on heirloom craft dollhouse to Miniature World

Couple constructed dollhouse to smallest detail, from working electrical to hand-stitched carpets

A three-foot wide home with working lights, a heating system and flushing toilets may sound like the stuff of fantasy, but for Gordie and Kay Hodgson it was a creation they were willing to spend thousands of hours bringing into reality.

Living in Esquimalt during the mid to late 1900s, the couple was part of a large group of adult hobbyists who became captivated by craft dollhouse and miniature building.

“It was definitely a fad during the ‘60s and ‘70s,” said their great-niece Roseanne Harvey. “I think it may have something to do with the growing middle class and home ownership.”

The living room of one of Kay and Gordie Hodgson’s creations. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

“The hobby craft industry was big then,” agreed former Miniature World owner George Devlin, who founded the Victoria shop in 1970 when he noticed a boom in interest.

In the ‘80s, before Gordie and Kay passed away, Devlin said he knew the couple quite well and purchased four of their dollhouses off of them.

“I just had a great appreciation for craftsmanship in miniature,” he said. Devlin appraised dozens of dollhouses during his time at Miniature World, but said by far his favourite was one of the Hodgsons’ – the one with a fully functioning electrical and sewage system.

Gordie Hodgson was a carpenter and built their dollhouses in exactly the same way he built regular homes, from pouring the cement foundation to stuccoing the outer walls. Kay was in charge of furnishing and interior design.

Some items – like mini forks and knives, hair brushes and jewel-studded fans – their great-niece said were ordered online, but others were painstakingly made by hand. Kay Hodgson cross-stitched every carpet, sewed every set of curtains and framed every family photo.

The dollhouse features actual photos of Kay and Gordie Hodgson and their family members. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

In 2017, when Kay passed away, Harvey inherited the Hodgson’s last remaining dollhouse – a Tudor-style home Harvey believes was modeled after the Metchosin house her great-aunt grew up in.

“Every time I visited her she would give me a tour of it,” Harvey said. “I was always very fascinated and intrigued.”

For the last three years, the home has sat in Harvey’s basement and she’s enjoyed showing it off to friends and family. She swears each time she opens its hinged doors and peers inside something has moved and, since she’s living in the Hodgsons’ old home, thinks her great-aunt and uncle’s spirits could be to blame.

Despite admiring the dollhouse’s immense detail, Harvey said she’s never taken an interest in picking up the hobby herself. So, Harvey has decided to donate the dollhouse to Miniature World where it can join its fellow creations.

“I’m happy that I found a good home for it,” she said.


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

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