Blog

rural retro 

Hello and Welcome!

I am passionate about all things handmade and vintage. I create, paint and love to share my inspirations at workshops and talks. I am a big fan of pinterest where I keep my virtual collection of ideas, inspiration and wish list. Thanks for stopping by.  Jacs x 

 

Gee Bee Dolls House

Posted on

1 Comments

I recently came across a fascinating  article on the history of Gee Bee dolls houses by Rebecca Green on the excellent  "Dolls Houses Past & Present" website.

Gee Bee based in Hull were started around 1946 by 2 veterans using their army payment to finance the  business. They sold their doll houses, farms and garages  almost exclusively through a local toy distributor  who traded under the name Tudor Toys.

The article reminded me that I gave my sister an  early Gee Bee dolls house quite a few years ago. The DHPP article has a photo of my sisters actual house captured from the original ebay listing, so for Gee Bee  dolls house fans everywhere here are some recent photos of it, still in it's original condition.

The house has flat painted flowers rather than the "raised plastic" flowers and "green flocked" grass described by a Gee Bee worker but these were clearly painted by the same hand that painted "Sally L's" house also pictured in the article.

It is made of hardboard, plywood and another softwood  with chisel marks clearly visible on the back base slot. I am not sure if this was an "offcut" reused, or hand chiseled to size  by the joiner who made the house.

These early examples are  described as having no back - this one originally most likely  had 2 sliding hardwood backboards  that slotted into the groves and could be slid independently. Alternatively, perhaps "add on" rooms could be purchased seperately that were slotted into the groves?

Gee Bee Dolls House - Front

geebees_front_rr

Gee Bee House - Back

geebees_back_rr

 

Gee Bee House - Front Side view

geebees_rh_side_rr

 

Gee Bee House Back Side view

geebees_lh_side_rr

 

Gee Bee House - Garden and path view

 

geebees_garden_rr

Gee Bee House - base view

The house has lost it's "GB"label that would have been on the front wall, but it is initialed with "G B" for Gee Bee in pencil on the base. There are other initials that look like "F1 DB" and "E4" I would love to know what or who these other initials stand for.

geebees_base1_rr

geebees_base2_rr

It is likely that there was some variance in size between individual houses, but this one is approx: Length: slightly over 18 inches Height: 14.5 inches Total depth: 10 inches, with 4 inches for the garden. The tall chimney is 5 inches in height.

As Rebecca Green highlights in her article, Gee Bee evolved different variations of their original core designs through the years, as well as introducing new models.  This first cottage had a few  variations before it was re-invented  as the more well known "DH8" Tudor cottage during the 1950's that continued to be made until the company folded at the beginning of the 1980's.

Variations of the Gee Bee Cottage

Photos from  various ebay sellers - just like full size houses, these are often re-modeled, updated and repainted, so not always easy to date them

     

    geebee_cottage_sallyl_dhpp       gee bee       dh8 tudor cottage gee bees_ebay                

      Cottage - right hand door          Cottage - curved gables           DH8 - right hand door

      geebee_cottagedh8 tudor cottage gee bees small house side view_ebaygeebee litho hardboard1977

            DH8                                         DH8 left hand door             DH8 - 1970s

 

You can read the full history of Gee Bee by Rebecca Green on DHPP here:

http://www.dollshousespastandpresent.com/issue22sept2014p5.htm

Rebecca has written another good article  about the handmade dolls  houses that were  constructed from designs and plans available in woodworker and other hobby magazines. I have a woodworker house together with the original edition of the 1935 magazine containing the design which  I have owned for many years. Rebecca's article also has a photo of a different house built to the same design. Mine is still on my list of projects to re-decorate!. 

http://www.dollshousespastandpresent.com/magazine14sept2012p3.htm

 My 1935 Woodworker Dolls House

1935woodworker_dollshouse_handmade

 

You can see more photos of the inside  on my instagram page.

 1935 dolls house from wookworker plan

Add a comment:

Leave a comment:

Comments

  1. Jenni aka Trumblesmum

    How surprising. I just loaded some photos and a request for info about early Gee bees to Dolls' Houses Past & Present, then searched by Google and found your post here. It is odd because I was looking at some of your d/h items on Etsy yesterday! I read Rebecca's article again - knew it was in one of the e-zines there but couldn't locate it. She says the two men who begn the company were Charles Goodeve and Richard Bell, so I guess that their surname initials were used for the company name. Thanks for a very interesting post. Jenni

    Posted on

Add a comment