The cast of Ghosts with the dolls

How the Ghosts Dolls' House came to the real-life Button House

In October 2021, directors of Light Creative, creators of the dolls' house featured in the opening credits of BBC Ghosts advertised it on eBay.  They were moving offices and were unable to take the large, bulky model with them.
Included in the sale were iconic props such as the rocking horse, the portrait of Lady Fanny Button, the tiny reproduction of a newspaper relating to the death of MP Julian Fawcett and the smashed mirror.  They were just some of more than a hundred items of furniture and accessories, all one-twelfth scale, which came with the house.
The asking price was high, but perhaps not excessive considering how famous a prop the dolls' house had become.  However, there were no starting price bids by the closing date, though several people had contacted the vendors to make an offer.   One of the would-be buyers was Diane Whiting, a keen volunteer at West Horsley Place and a great fan of Ghosts.  She said, 
The bedroom"I explained to the owners that I wanted to donate the dolls' house to West Horsley Place Trust.  It belonged in West Horsley Place and should go nowhere else.  They were sympathetic, and agreed to sell it for £1,000, rather than going with other bidders, who had offered more.   I immediately transferred the money and dashed to East London to collect it from their offices and secure it.  That was an adventure in itself. I was unable to make the parking ticket machine work and a traffic warden was approaching - however he accepted my explanation and all was well!"
The miniature house,  which is over six foot long, was loaded into Diane's car with some difficulty, then she drove back to her home a short distance from West Horsley Place, where it spent the night in the garage.  
"I gathered up all the little bits and pieces that came with the house and had great fun playing with them on our dining room table", said Diane.  "The next day I contacted the Trust and told them that the house was safe and was coming home."
Natasha Kalisz, is a Director of Light Creative and one of the team responsible for making the dolls' house.
She said, "When making the house, we bought a second-hand dolls house that we used as the base. The designers then built on the wings using MDF. We photographed the roof we already had in the original spec and printed them out for the new 'extensions'. As we created the house, we tried to be as faithful as possible to the actual 'Button House' so painted the rooms in similar colours and peeled wallpaper to simulate the distressed look of the house. We also went into lots of detail including creating a newspaper showing Julian Fawcett, MP's scandal. While filming the titles, we did everything for real.  The rocking horse had a stick tied to it to make it move.  We used a finger on the back of the dresser to push open the draws. A piece of fishing line was attached to a door so it could be opened or closed.  The only prop that was added in post-production was the third tea cup that falls off the table. "

Light Creative was nominated for a BAFTA award for its creation and the opening sequences of Ghosts.

A team of volunteers, including Diane, together with WHP officers have cleaned, repaired and worked on the dolls' house from photos of these sequences, ensuring that as far as possible everything is placed as it was in the filming, including the paper cut-outs of Alison and Mike. A JustGiving page was set up after the acquisition to help offset costs and generous Ghosts fans pledged most of the purchase money. 
Filming raises vital funds for the repair and conservation of West Horsley Place. 
You can book a place on our next Open Day and see the doll's house for yourself HERE.