A Dickensian Christmas

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>The Festival of Trees and Dickensville features 40 Christmas trees of varying sizes.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Half a dozen volunteers spent approximately two weeks putting together the Christmas display.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>The Festival of Trees and Dickensville at the Queens County Museum is open daily now through to December 23.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>George Mitchell of Liverpool, here with the Dickens Christmas village he now loans to the museum at Christmas time. Mitchell has been collecting the Dickens buildings for the past 20 years, and up until two years erected the display at his home every year.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>There are 89 buildings in the Dickens Christmas village at the Queens Museum, plus a collection of people, trees and other props.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>Each structure in the Dickens Christmas village collection reflects a building in one of his novels.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>George Mitchell, who owns the 89-building Dickens display at the museum, started off with one building 20 years ago and has been collecting them by every year since.</p>
  • <p>GAYLE WILSON PHOTO</p><p>A doll house which is part of the Festival of Trees and Dickensville at the Queens County Museum in Liverpool.</p>

Visitors to Queens County Museum in Liverpool are being transposed once again into a magical storybook world of fairy-lit trees amid a Charles Dickens-themed Christmas.

The annual Festival of Trees and Dickensville kicked off at the museum on November 18 and runs through to December 23.

According to Linda Refuse, director at the museum, it took about two weeks for a decorating team of about half a dozen staff to put the displays together.

"There's 40 trees, big and small," she said.

She wasn't sure how many Christmas ornaments were involved, but chuckled and commented "a bucket load."

The Dickensville display in one of the rooms comes compliments of owner George Mitchell, who has lived in Liverpool for 75 years.

Up until two years ago, every Christmas Mitchell had erected the display in his office at home.

He was assisted in putting it together at the museum this year by Clarke Rafuse and Linda Molton.

Mitchell began collecting figurines of Dickensian buildings 20 years ago. He started off with one and soon was "hooked," adding two or three homes and buildings to his collection every year since, he told LighthouseNOW.

The museum display features 89 buildings, "plus all the trees and people and track and all that stuff," explained Mitchell.

His favorite one, he says, is The Old Curiosity Shop, which was the first building he bought.

But he likes the fact that all the collectibles feature a building or house in one of Dickens' novels.

"Every building has a story," said Mitchell.

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