Search

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

10:39 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

Yesterday, 16:45
Friends Grace Smith and Demi Wilkinson, both 11, enjoy a fun day at Dovers farm estate green.

More than 100 residents took part in fun activities on a green, that was recently threatened with a housing development.

Yesterday, 15:44
Young people from the Habbit Factory and young volunteers from the National Citizen Service at The Brewery to raise awareness and funds for the factory which works with disabled and able-bodied youngsters

Teenagers from the National Citizens Service (NCS) have launched a campaign to lend their voices in a show of support for a performing arts charity.

Yesterday, 15:01
Becci hosted the tea party on Sunday and managed to raise £210 for charity

Miss Romford has now raised more than £1,000 for charity after holding a tea party for family and friends.

Yesterday, 12:03
Report shows rise in number of tenants and landlrods in parts of Havering

The number of landlords registering rental properties in Hornchurch has gone up almost 60 per cent in one year, according to one estate agents.

Yesterday, 10:06
An artist's impression of the new building for Suttons Primary School. Picture: Suttons Primary School

A primary school will be celebrating 82 years of schooling before pupils and teachers begin a new chapter in their new school building.

Yesterday, 08:00
The Adamsgate Action Group protesting outside Havering Town Hall earlier this year after Ingrebourne Hill Ltd lodged an appeal against the council's decision to refuse the plans.

A public inquiry into controversial plans to dump “inert” waste and double the size of Rainham’s Ingrebourne Hill is due to start today.

Yesterday, 07:00
Andrew Rosindell and his dog Buster

The Dangerous Dogs Act needs a “complete review” and should be overhauled – according to Romford’s MP.

Mon, 18:33
Firefighters were called to cut a woman out of a car following an accident in Hall Lane earlier today. Picture: PA images

A woman was cut from a car by firefighters following a road collision with another car in Upminster earlier today.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

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