The Bekonscot Model Village and Railway located in Beaconsfield near London is
billed as the oldest and original model village. The miniature village first opened to the public in 1929 and contains an extensive model railway which surrounds the gardens and miniature buildings. The architectural miniature buildings and settings are a look back at London in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The village covers over 1.5 acres of land. Since 1929 more than 14 million visitors have come to see the model village and trains.
The model village and railway came about when Rolland Callingham who was an accountant in London was given an ultimatum by his wife to remove his model train set out of the house or else. To accommodate this Mr. Callingham moved his train sets outside and created an outdoor village for the model railway. At first the model village was visited only by acquaintances of Mr. Callingham who would come to his home to get away from London to enjoy the countryside.
The miniature buildings represent local architecture and representations of buildings from London. None of the buildings are architecturally accurate representations as this was never an interest of Callingham’s. Mr. Callingham was known for being fun and eccentric and never wanted his little village to be taken too seriously. All profits from Bekonscot go to charity which is administered by the Roland Callingham Foundation. Recipients of the charity have included hospices, the Great Ormond Street Hospital, and children’s charities.