As we don't have a "physical" shop premises here at Magpies-Miniatures, it is difficult to reach out to local people, and let them know we exist! Only so much can be done through local advertising, social networking, and word-of-mouth, so when an opportunity arose to claim window space in the Town centre over the Christmas period, we'd be daft to not oblige!
We were in contact with a local store at the beginning of November, and quickly our conversation led to us agreeing to complete a window display for them, for our towns annual Dickensian Festival. This festival is a weekend event at the end of November, which sees the town turn back in time. For more information, see the Ulverston Dickensian Festival website.
The brief the shop (Namely Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe) had given to us was simply "A Victorian style street scene". We were allowed to go with this however we saw fit- and we did.
My Dad, Jon, is incredibly talented at many things - woodwork being one of them. He created us a 4' "stage" to create our display on. We were able to source some wonderful photo prints of the town centre in Victorian days, and these became the backdrop of our scene.
Our town is a very traditional, old-style quirky market town- complete with cobblestones and original dated buildings. The photos depicted these, and we used a couple of the wallpapers we sell in our miniature store, to create the pavements, walls, and cobbles. (We found an old slate roof tile paper gave a brilliant result for cobbles!)
We then decorated two shop fronts. One in the style of an old toy shop, and another as a miniature Mr Simms Sweet Shop. If you have a Mr Simms local to you (they are a small(ish) UK franchise), then you will know what a magical aura they have themselves. It's like stepping back in time - shelves filled with glass jars of the most colourful candies you could imagine, from floor to ceiling. Our Victorian piece fit wonderfully into it's surroundings..
We included details from a period postbox, to people going about their business in the busy market scene, and even down to coal spilling out of the coal sacks, and 3 little black rats- one toying with a cat around the Mr Simms advertising board.
We had so much fun researching the period, collecting the miniatures together, and creating a wonderful miniature scene! We hope Lynne and John at Mr Simms are impressed with our work, and that passers by can enjoy the miniature world too. A lovely bit of magic for kids, and big kids alike!
Here's a few pictures of the scene as it developed: