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Sudley House: Small World Room

Sudley House located in Aigburth, Liverpool, England is an art gallery and museum
under the auspices of the National Museums Liverpool. The house was the home of Nicholas Robinson, the Mayor of Liverpool in the early 19th century. Eventually the house was sold to George Holt, a ship owner in Victorian England. George’s daughter donated the home to the city of Liverpool in 1944. In addition to lovely and accurate period rooms with original art work by Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Edwin Landseer, J. M. W. Turner and Rossetti, the home houses a collection known as the Small World.

The Small World Room contains a well loved collection of dollhouses, toy horses, miniature farm animals, dollhouse dolls, toy soldiers, miniature train sets and model ships. The toys and in particular the large Victorian dolls house illustrate what life was like in the well to do homes of the day. The dollhouse is an example of a type of dollhouse that would be found and displayed in the homes of wealthy Victorians. Girls were often taught the basics of running a household through the use of a dollhouse. Boys were more likely to playing with the toy soldiers or the antique building blocks. Children in poorer families also played with toys that were scaled down versions of real items such as vehicles and dolls but their versions would have been simpler than the toys displayed in the Small World Collection in the Sudley House.

In addition the Small World Room, Sudley House is also home to a beautiful garden, a Childhood Room which depicts how children would have lived during Victorian times, a Costume Room displaying period clothes in the styles that would have been worn by the family living at Sudley House. Currently the Museum has an exhibition running called A Sweet Life which tracks the life of Emily and Philip Tinne and their family of seven children. The collection includes family clothing and an exhibit of letters. There is also a small display called Mansions and Merchants which allows visitors to follow the development of Liverpool as a maritime city through photos and artifacts from homes and landscapes. One item in the collection tells the story of the importance of tea to the shipping trade conducted in Liverpool.

The Museum is open to the public and admission is free. Visitors can also enjoy the tearoom which is available on the premises.

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