PICTURED: Doting father finally finishes building Bromley daughter's dolls house - after 35 years

Geoffrey Walkley with daughter Sarah and the dolls house

Geoffrey Walkley with daughter Sarah and the dolls house

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , deputy news editor

Thirty-five years and £13,000 in the making, a doting father has finally finished building a dolls house for his daughter.

Geoffrey Walkley, 69, from Essex, spent over three-and-a-half decades creating the staggering structure for daughter Sarah Walkley, of Widmore Road, Bromley.

Weighing a whopping 200 pounds, it has three storeys and 13 rooms including five bedrooms, library, kitchen, dining room, marble hall and a utility room.

A remote controls individually wired light switches, six of the 14 chimneys are linked to a smoke generator, there is a the doorbell for the front and back doors and an iPad Nano powers the speaker in the music room.

Recalling the moment, aged 5, she asked for the Wendy House on Christmas Eve 1978, Mrs Walkley, now aged 40, said: "My mum was tucking me in and I said I wanted a dolls house from Father Christmas.

"She said he had packed his sleigh and left the Arctic and she went downstairs and mentioned it to my dad and he said he was going to build one.

"I thought it would be a few years. Once he started it became very clear that was not going to be the case.

"It became a bit of a running joke - I used to say 'will it ever get finished?'"

In 2004 Mr Walkley retired from his job as a lawyer in the city to become a part-time consultant and devote at least 35 hours a week to the project.

Mrs Walkley, who lives with her husband Mark, 38, an electric engineer, added: "Once he retired he swapped one full time job for another full time job.

"He would spend 10am to 4pm in his workshop, at least.

"There was certainly lots of times he wanted to take a hammer to it because it was annoying him.

"By the time he finished it he was probably sick of the sight of it. He did not really appreciate it until a few weeks later when he saw it again."

When asked what the dolls house meant to her, Mrs Walkley became overwhelmed with emotion.

She said: "It's indescribable really, to spend that much of your life on one project, it's a real token of love and dedication."

"My friends think it's absolutely amazing and a little bit eccentric.

"Most people's perceptions of a dolls house is a basic wooden Sylvanian Families house. This is a real work of art.

"I've spent a couple of Friday nights sitting with a glass of wine and just marvelling at it."

The 42 x 39 inch house now has pride of place in her home, after hiring a Luton van to transport it from her father's workshop.

Comments (4)

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1:33pm Thu 1 May 14

shabina says...

a thank you, for spelling correction would have been nice, instead of deleting my post
a thank you, for spelling correction would have been nice, instead of deleting my post shabina
  • Score: -9

2:55pm Thu 1 May 14

ElsieH says...

Better late than never Mr Walkley! Hope your grandchildren enjoy it.
Better late than never Mr Walkley! Hope your grandchildren enjoy it. ElsieH
  • Score: 1

12:03am Fri 2 May 14

PaddysMum says...

Absolutely beautiful...a family heirloom
Absolutely beautiful...a family heirloom PaddysMum
  • Score: 0

8:36am Fri 2 May 14

shabina says...

all i said was Sleigh not Slay, and it got deleted, but after they corrected their article !!
all i said was Sleigh not Slay, and it got deleted, but after they corrected their article !! shabina
  • Score: -2

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