Search

Better late than never! Hornchurch man completes daughter’s doll’s house after 35 years

PUBLISHED: 10:39 23 April 2014 | UPDATED: 10:48 23 April 2014

Geoffrey Walkley, 69, who spent 35 years building a dolls house for his daughter

Geoffrey Walkley, 69, who spent 35 years building a dolls house for his daughter

Archant

A little girl’s dream of having her own doll’s house has come true - 35 years after she made the wish.

The model is a replica of Rainham HallThe model is a replica of Rainham Hall

When Sarah Walkley, now 40, asked her mother for the gift on Christmas Eve, 1978, she had no idea her father would spend more than three decades - and £9,000 - on the elaborate project.

Geoffrey Walkley, 69, of Hornchurch, finished the replica of the 18th century National Trust building Rainham Hall last year, much to Sarah’s delight, as well as his.

“I never imagined it would take this long,” he said, “When Sarah said she wanted a doll’s house my wife told her Santa had already packed his sleigh and left and there was no time that year.

“So I started looking for a suitable project. I started it off in the garage, but it made very slow progress as I was still working.”

The doll's house now has pride of place in Sarah's homeThe doll's house now has pride of place in Sarah's home

The former lawyer began dedicating more time to the project 10 years ago after retiring, when he would spend up to seven hours a day, five days a week working on the model’s intricate details.

But despite it taking “six or seven” years longer than expected, Geoffrey insists he only really lost his cool once.

“I would lose heart when things started to go wrong, but there was only one time when I came in and said ‘I’m going to put a hammer through that thing.’”

Upon completion, the model, which weighs “about 300 pounds”, was carefully placed in a removal van and transported to Bromley where Sarah now lives.

“We had a bit of trouble getting it in the door,” said Geoffrey. “But it now has pride of place in her home. She’s the most patient daughter, she never once asked ‘when the hell is this going to be finished?’”

Latest Romford News Stories

A dance music festival will not only be entertaining thousands of music lovers this year but will also be helping the homeless.

10:00

17th century sea captain Andrew Branfill’s name lives on in a street name and even a school. But, says Prof Ged Martin, his business was people trafficking

Yesterday, 17:14

Reporters Matthew Clemenson and Ralph Blackburn joined Time 107.5 FM’s Steve Allen for this week’s East London News Review podcast.

Yesterday, 17:00

With the now-lost royal palace, the Roman Road and centuries-old Romford Market part of its past (and present), Havering really does have a rich and varied history.

Yesterday, 14:50

A woman was thrown into a betting shop window after a car, allegedly driven by an elderly driver, crashed into her this afternoon.

Yesterday, 13:00

A shop that has served parents and their children for generations is set to close after 65 years.

Yesterday, 11:03

A woman who lost her brother in a tragic accident 27 years ago is desperately trying to raise cash to give him a fitting memorial.

Yesterday, 07:00

A father and son who deal in antique military memorabilia have unearthed one of only two known flags from the Defence of Hougoumont during the Battle of Waterloo.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now