Great-grandmother spends 15 YEARS building miniature village (but now it's too big for the spare room)

Yahoo! News
Lilian Barton and her model village which has been 15 years in the making (SWNS)

A great-grandmother has spent 15 years carefully making net curtains, kitchen tables and plush sofas - all for a miniature village which now fills her spare bedroom.

Lily Barton, 73, has dedicated precious hours to creating her own community called 'Barton Village' featuring fully-furnished model homes complete with electricity, furniture and mini residents.

Her husband Derek, 83, a retired joiner, makes the larger structures and buildings while Lily makes the mini cans of Heinz beans and table settings.

The village has such incredible attention to detail that the homes even feature fishtanks with tiny swimming fish, boots which lace up, net curtains and tiny stamped envelopes.

'Barton Village' has seven houses, a church, Santa's Grotto, a village square, allotment complete with a green house and a village green grocer.

But the growing street scene has now swamped their 11ft x 9ft spare bedroom in Wetherby, West Yorkshire, and the couple are now scaling back their building work.

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House-proud Lily said: "It's not something I've been taught, it's just something I've picked up over time. I've read all sorts of books and manuals on how to create these little people and houses.

"I began making sugar people and hats after taking part in a craft competition as a member of the Bramham Yorkshire Country Group, and my passion went on from there.

"I collect all sorts of rubbish such as very soft pieces of leather to then create furniture for the village. The amount of materials and items used are countless.

"When I first started making them 15 years ago, I couldn’t sleep as I was thinking of what to put where and how to plan it.

"I don’t know how I have done it for over the years, but it's taken over my life. I've even painted the walls to show some scenery for the village.

"I have had to stop now because the room is so full, and I don't want to have to build an extension to expand my village further."

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Lily is originally from Sunderland but moved to Wetherby 21 years ago, and has five children, eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

She uses a range of materials to make her miniatures, from lace for the house curtains to wood for the tiny tables and leather for shoes on the figurines.

A three-piece suite in the dolls house was even made from an old leather handbag.

A person can take Lily a week to make, but a full house can take up to six months to create, with the help of her husband of 16 years.

She said: "Being a retired joiner, I asked Derek to help me out one day and he took up building the houses from scratch.

"He only builds the houses during the winter months, but it keeps him quiet and the village keeps me quiet throughout the year.

"It allows me to get away from everything and shut off from the rest of the world. I really enjoy going up to look at it whenever I've got some spare time."

Lily, who invites the public to see her village, regularly hosts talks and displays on her model village crafts groups and other organisations such as the Women’s Institute.

She added: "After I finish my talks I invite everybody to come and look at my village, and a lot of people come through.

"They sometimes call me up and ask if they can come and see the village. Some come every week and even invite their friends along."

As well as making and displaying her work, Lily collects miniatures, including a mixture of handmade and antique finds.

Around the world miniature art has been made for more than 1000 years, with a number of famous miniature collections highly sought after by collectors.