Spring Miniatura
NEC, Birmingham, UK
30th & 31st March 2019
Future Show Dates - TBA
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 10:10

Miniatura Memories

PetitePropertiesNECMiniatura has been running in Birmingham since 1983 and has attracted thousands of exhibitors and visitors, encouraging them to get involved in the hobby of making the smallest of worlds as realistic as possible.

The family run business began at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground in September 1983 and has run twice a year ever since. It is one of the longest running events at the NEC and, whilst smaller than the average show at that venue, it brings enthusiasts from all over the world to exhibit, collect and enjoy some of the finest miniature creations. Bob, Muriel and Andy Hopwood are all proud of the fact that Miniatura has played such a big part in this wonderful, welcoming and inspiring hobby. The 70th event will be full of houses, furniture, dolls, food, hats, shoes, animals, and a thousand other things, all in smaller scales and all painstakingly handmade by the craftspeople who support the show.

Many visitors have been time and time again and over the years there have been many fond memories created. Andy Hopwood has had a look back and given us a few highlights:

Maggie Scott-Langley from Criss Cross Miniatures: "When David and I got together he started talking about the miniatures he had made in the past. I had no idea what he was talking about as my only experience was a childhood dollshouse which had disappeared in the mists of time and my daughter's dollshouse which her Grandpa had put together from a bookcase. Not exactly a scale model!
Eventually David announced that he was taking me to Miniatura, so I would know what he was on about. In 2004 we booked tickets for the Autumn show. Not really knowing what to expect I didn't think it would take us long to see everything. How mistaken I was. I had never seen anything like it. So many beautiful little things, so much amazing skill and craftsmanship. I was hooked. It took a while for things to develop but without that visit to Miniatura, Criss Cross Miniatures would probably never have happened."

Ann Evans - Author and Journalist: "Photographer Rob Tysall and I have been writing about hobbies and collectables for many years. Our first association with Miniatura was attending their Bears & Dolls Shows which amazed us from the very start, and made for great photographs. At one of the first Miniatura Shows we attended Rob was challenged with photographing a microscopic hand-made fully-jointed teddy bear, a record breaking 5.0mm tall. It was made by Bettina Kaminski of Germany and is now on display at A World In Miniature in Carlisle. Rob says: 'Photographing miniatures got a bit easier after that one!'
We've always enjoyed writing about the Miniatura Shows, and it's great meeting up with the team of Andy, Bob and Muriel who are always so friendly and welcoming."

Andy Hopwood: "As organisers we see our job as two-fold. Providing a comfortable, safe environment that works for everyone and creating the space for craftspeople to do what they do best, amaze people with their creations. It's always lovely to hear from visitors who appreciate this when we get it right (even the weather!)"

Visitor - Louise Holland: "I had a great time at the show today,  the stall holders were lovely and the weather was better than expected,  I will look forward to March now." 

Pat Cutforth does an excellent job of running the Cancer Research UK stand at the show. Miniatura has been proud to support them for many years and we hope to do so for a long time to come.
"...my life has indeed been bound up with the show since those careless days when I attended as a visitor with my seven year old Eleanor (now just turned forty!). These days I barely get to look around as we struggle to man our busy stand.
We have just had a very successful weekend at the show and I was able to bank over £6000 for Cancer Research UK, thanks to the kindness of the Hopwoods who have been giving us a free table for almost thirty years, and not forgetting all those  exhibitors and visitors who have donated things for us to sell." … You can read Pat's full article here...

Andy Hopwood: Over the years we have seen many new collectors arrive and of course when you do anything for long enough you will also encounter people who have had to stop visiting for various reasons. It gives us a great sense of pride that we can play a part in bringing such pleasure to people. It's all too easy in the hustle and bustle of promoting and organising big events to overlook the wonderful effect it can have on people. So when we get messages like this one it reminds us of the real reasons why we run the show.

Visitor - Gill Bartlett: "I wanted to let you know how much we have enjoyed visiting Miniatura over the years. Our first visit was many years ago when we were members of Cardiff Dolls House club. After that we have been coming for many years and staying at a variety of hotels so that we could extend our trip to the weekend. Unfortunately, because of our health, we have had to decide that this would be our last visit, so we are saying goodbye to our favourite show and to the wonderful exhibitors. You and your staff have given us tremendous pleasure and many ideas to develop our own collections.  We shall miss you!"

PEscutcheonaul & Ruby Ki-Kydd - Escutcheon: "One of the great things about Miniatura is that no matter how many times we exhibit (and we have been to a lot of Miniatura's) there are always new memories. Amongst our favourites are memories of meeting and chatting to the customers. This personal contact is priceless, it's what makes it such a pleasure to exhibit, and on many occasions it has made the difference in terms of sales after the event. "

Naturally the people who have the most memories to share are Bob and Muriel Hopwood who have been involved more than anyone else. Here's their take on one of the more significant changes over the years, the involvement of their son Andy.

Bob & Muriel Hopwood - Organisers: "We have had to make some big decisions over the years whilst running Miniatura. Starting a show from scratch was a daunting prospect, as was moving from the relatively small Motorcycle Museum to the "big league" that is the National Exhibition Centre. However it could be argued that one of the hardest decisions to make was whether to mix family and business, that's what we had to do when we chose to involve Andy in Miniatura back in the early 1990's. He had always helped out in varying capacities from putting up signs, with his brother David, at 5.30am for the early shows to processing ticket sales on the home computer as the show got bigger. When we moved to the NEC and started the Scottish Miniatura it was clear that we needed an extra person, full time. Andy had just finished University and was looking for work. It seemed to make perfect sense, he was already the ideal candidate for the job, but going from being a family to being a family "business" is not a decision to take lightly. We are happy to say that it has turned out rather better than any of us could have hoped. Andy now runs the majority of Miniatura and has grown more and more capable of doing so over the years."

Paul & Janet Brownhill - Country Treasures: "We can still clearly remember the thrill and excitement being at the very first show back in September 1983 (we were beside a grand piano if our memory serves us right) and also being amazed at how busy it was. It's slighty easier to remember the time Jan Leeming did an mini-documentary piece on the show for HTV as part of their "Makers" series because we still have the video. We can re-live Janet's splendid interview over and over again, she says she was nervous but it doesn't show at all. Attending Miniatura is probably the best thing we ever did and it's not an exaggeration to say it changed both our lives."

Bea & Tony Broadwood - Petite Properties: "Whether it be Spring or Autumn, Miniatura is always the highlight of our busy show schedule.  As a family business, we are very proud to have been exhibiting at Miniatura since 2005.  Over the years, both our stand and the range of smaller scale kits we offer has grown dramatically and every time we arrive at the NEC, we're always super excited and ready for a very busy weekend.  For us, Miniatura is the flagship UK dolls house show and we simply can't wait to bring the PP stand back to the NEC in March to join in the celebrations at their 70th show!"

So we'll be looking forward to the Spring 2018 Miniatura Show where visitors, exhibitors and even us organisers will be making some more wonderful Miniatura Memories.