When I was eleven, my junior school class visited London for a week. We did just about everything you see in the guidebooks, from the museums to the zoo by way of the Planetarium, the Tower and Drury Lane, but one of the most memorable places for me was The Old Curiosity Shop. We only stopped outside for maybe five or ten minutes, everyone took photos and we carried on to our next port of call, but the tiny building left a lasting impression.
Surrounded and overshadowed by much newer and larger buildings, it looks almost doll's house-ish, and is as lopsided as it is ancient. It was built in the 16th century, and was one of very few buildings in the City to survive both the Great Fire of London and the Blitz, which for me, is a big part of the reason it's so fascinating: it offers an all too rare glimpse of London as it looked hundreds of years ago. It might not be as beautiful as much of the Georgian and Victorian architecture we have here, but to find something so old and unexpected tucked away just minutes from the chaos of traffic and city life is a pretty wonderful thing.
So, why am I getting all misty over it today in particular? Because an even-smaller-than-the-real-thing Curiosity Shop is this week's Way Back Wednesday project.
It was put together for a Dickens-themed magazine feature and I enjoyed making it more than is probably sensible. Constructing things in miniature is, I think, the perfect combination of challenging, fun and satisfying. Also, smaller almost always equals cuter, and that's surely no bad thing.
The top section lifts off so you can store things inside, which makes the finished project functional rather than just decorative, and at risk of blasting my own trumpet much too loudly, I think it looks pretty similar to the real thing. Maybe not separated at birth, but you'd at least know they were cousins.