Hobbyist and Preloved member Mike Scott is the man behind these impressive miniature Tudor houses. He tells us his story and how he got into this unusual hobby.
I first got involved with woodwork when I married: I could either pay someone to build something, or learn to make it myself. I chose the latter. Once I got into it, I became passionate about it; so much so that I used to do work for friends and family. Since my days in the army, I have been interested in teaching, and I have experience in fields such as IT weapon training. After 25 years of working as a General Manager, I decided to utilise my skills in carpentry to generate interest in the art of creating Tudor miniatures.
To this end, there is a ‘How To’ section on my website; this is where I show people how to create a miniature table or floorboards or how to install lighting or create a flagstone floor. There is also a ‘Project’ tab that takes you through every stage of building a Tudor house, usually the one that I am working on at the time, which allows the reader to follow me.
It’s a hobby that can take over your life if you allow it, so I only tend to build one a year as I am disabled and struggle to do a lot of work on a daily basis. I take my inspiration from anything and anywhere: things I’ve seen on the TV, period dramas, buildings I see in the street or towns I visit. However, I don’t copy a building in its entirety. I like to mix and match; sometimes I can completely visualize something off the top of my head. I like to start from a sketch; I start to draw something in the shape of a rectangle and see where it leads. This can result in a normal basic Tudor structure, or sometimes I like to be a little more adventurous and imagine stone steps leading over archways onto second stories, there is no end to where your imagination will take you.
It certainly isn’t a hobby that will make you a lot of money. You need to factor in the cost of materials, the delivery, the secure payment and, unlike Preloved, many advertising sites want a cut of the sale. If we have to deliver the house, it is very likely we’ll have to stay the night somewhere.
There’s just something about the character of the Tudor period: the stalwart tree of Britain, the Oak that Kings hid inside, the Oak that forged the British fleet that defeated the Spanish Armada, the Oak that housed majority of Britain for hundreds of years. A great deal of medieval England was covered by forests, at the start of the 15th century there were millions of acres of woodlands. In fact, up until the start of the 17th century most English towns were using timber framed houses. Look at places like Shrewsbury, Worcester, Stratford on Avon, to name but few of the unique examples of the Tudor period in Brittan; a heritage to be very proud of.
Why do I do it?
It’s the only thing that I can pursue as an interest and put down when I am in pain. It’s not how long it takes; it’s about seeing the finished article and thinking, ‘I created that,’ which in return gives you a feeling of self-worth. You are never too old to learn most things; it’s about taking part and having some sort of quality of life other than becoming a couch potato.
When I found the unfinished Tudor house in my father-in-law’s workshop, I thought I’d like to finish it for him; he used to make them and really gave him great pleasure for a number of years until he passed away. If I hadn’t done it, it would have ended up in the bin and lost forever. I had no idea what I was doing, what he was making or how time-consuming it would be, or even what I had to build next. I had no plans to work from; he kept them all in his head. I wasn’t even interested in miniature houses! However, I learnt as I went and I really can’t say that I didn’t make any mistakes, because I sure did! Nevertheless, it was a journey that I enjoyed immensely.
This doesn’t mean that anyone that is looking to start creating miniature masterpieces has to be proficient in DIY first, not at all. However, there are certain skills that will be of a benefit to the average DIY person, remember most skills in life are transferable. The first step, get help from my website, it’s there to help.