The model buildings are laid out over the Old Vicarage gardens to represent Godshill (the village we are set in) and Shanklin (a town on the coast a short drive away). The original owner of the site wanted to create a faithful representation of Shanklin in the garden here. Work started in the 1950’s moving earth using a local farmers horse and cart to dig out the Chine Valley that runs from the top of the garden to the large pond.
The real houses in Shanklin were then measured and photographed for accurate reproduction in the workshop. The Godshill section was opened by the family of the current owners in the 1970’s. Both areas represent life in the 1930’s – so you will find houses, pubs, churches and little people frozen in time.
The model buildings are lovingly crafted out of sand and cement to ensure they weather authentically over the years. Some are painted and others are left to the elements – just like real homes.
Thatched roofs are constructed on wooden bases – handcrafted with individual bundles of straw. Local thatchers are now familiar with us appearing asking to buy some of their straw whilst they are re-thatching cottages around the Island.