Meet the Cranham 90-year-old filling rooms with collection of doll's houses


Margaret Bricknell, 90, uses her imagination to create the interiors of her doll's houses. - Credit: Darren Cooper

A Cranham 90-year-old who loves to delve into the miniature world of doll's houses has recommended the craft to anyone who is elderly and on their own.  

Seven years ago, Margaret Bricknell received her first doll's house from her Brentwood-based son, Darren Cooper, 56.

Margaret and Darren

Margaret Bricknell, 90, with her son Darren Cooper, 56. - Credit: Darren Cooper

Now, behind the door of a bedroom in her family home - which she has lived in since 1952 - sits five carefully-designed doll's houses.  

But she says her hobby is anything but child’s play as they are “collector's items and the parts are so small and expensive”.  

She recalls being “absolutely amazed” when Darren walked in with a “big box” which contained her doll's house as it was nothing she had ever thought of doing before.  

The bathroom

The marble bathroom even features towels and a toilet roll holder. - Credit: Darren Cooper

Margaret’s late husband Ted, who passed away six years ago, had brought her a book on doll's houses, which Darren thinks inspired him to buy the gift.  

The mother-of-two said: “I love my doll's houses and normally go into the room where they are kept once a day, but sometimes twice and I like to change things around. 

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“It makes me feel better and I wish I was in some of them.”  

Miniature lounge

The expensive hobby keeps Margaret busy as she chooses every minute item herself. - Credit: Darren Cooper

Darren has helped to build some of the houses and install the lighting, which he said was a “bit of an ordeal” with bulbs the size of a pin.  

Dolls House at night

Darren's handiwork looks great at night. - Credit: Darren Cooper

Designing the rooms is a “slow process”, Margaret said, but it keeps her “brain active” while she is alone in the house.  

She added: “They’ve given me something to do and it does help a lot.  

“It’s not a simple case of buying a load of stuff, you have to trawl through and find the perfect pieces.”  

Anything from “cutlery, magazines, wine glasses and condoms” can be purchased in miniature form, joked Darren.  

Margaret’s favourite room is a pub as it’s one of the biggest and “has so much in it”.  

The pub

Margaret's favourite room at the minute is this intricately kitted out pub. - Credit: Darren Cooper

She said: “I think my creations are lovely and I like the ones that my son has helped me to build best. 

“For anyone who is on their own and elderly, I would say it’s a really good thing to do as you have so much scope and can do what you want with it.  

“With real houses you can’t, but with doll's houses, you can.”  

Margaret said she dreams of owning a “very old doll's house” - the likes of which could sell for thousands of pounds, according to Darren.  

Dolls house

At the moment Margaret Bricknell has five doll's houses. - Credit: Darren Cooper