The model village – an English obsession

Who lives in a place like this?

The Bondville minature Village near Bridlington is under new management. Recently purchased for £39,000, the new owners certainly got a lot of property for their money. In an attempt to woo back the visitors, the cafe has been reopened and work is underway to get the village back into pristine condition after a period of neglect. Some roofs have already been repaired and the model train which runs through the village very, very slowly is getting an engine upgrade to make it go a bit faster.  There are over 1000 handmade and painted character figures in the 1 acre site, over 200 individual and unique buildings, and carefully crafted scenes where tiny inhabitants go about their everyday life.

Make mine a ’99’

A jolly quiz helps you to look more closely at the details.
What caused the playground fight?
Who are the celebrity visitors to the Dog & Duck pub? (I never found out)
And why is a certain dog in hot water if he’s caught?
There is evidence to suggest the existence of private model villages and miniature parks since the 19th century, but it was only in the 1930s to 1950s that the genre became tourist attractions.
Most model villages and parks are built to a consistent scale; varying from 1:76 as used by

Continental Europe and Asia have tended to favour the scale of 1:25, whilst North American and UK examples have been based upon 1:12 and other variants. That what it says in Wikipedia.

Petrol is free in Bondville

There are miniature villages all over the world from China to Malaysia, to Australia to the USA to Jerusalem (mini Israel – I wonder if it gets bombed by miniature bombs..) However, no other country is as well provided for in the model village department as us. Over thirty are to be found across the length and breadth of Britain.
The Bondville miniature village is described as a ‘masterpiece, surely the finest model village in the country, renowned for its incredible attention to detail.’ and is described by Trip Advisor – Caveat Emptor -as the no 1 Attraction in Sewerby! Sewerby is a small place. The post office is probably no 2.
Historically, model villages may have started as private collectors follies in the 19th Century but are now usually tourist attractions relying on their income to keep the real estate up to scratch. As we wandered around the village with its neat houses and shops and little plastic people doing lots of Villagey things (no one watches the TV here) you can’t help but be charmed somehow by the order and the imagination of the creators. People have always been fascinated by the idea of people and places being much bigger or smaller. Witness Gulliver’s Travels, The Borrowers or the 1970’s TV series Land of the Giants. Although life was a bit more hazardous for the little people in these stories than it is in sleepy Bondville.

Pick on someone your own size!

Sadly Bondville has no connection to 007 and was apparently named after its original creator – a Mr Bond (it’s always men who do model villages) With my marketing head on I do think its missing a  trick and could probably benefit from making a bit more of that connection even if it wasn’t there in the first place (forget copyright for a moment)You could have James driving round the corner in his Aston Martin, the baddy scheming for model village domination from the castle, and the Bond girl draped across the deck of a yacht in the miniature harbour..Beach Huts at Bridlington..

That horse will NEVER jump that fence