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Model village celebrates its 50th birthday

Small is beautiful at the Babbacombe Model Village Photo:

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Babbacombe's famous model village. Staff at the Torquay attraction have been busy working on dozens of new models for the occasion.

So far we have added many new exhibits such as a biscuit factory, a whole new village street and a travel lodge.

We are also replacing the majority of the miniature cars, with up-to-date models complete with workable LED lighting for our evening illuminations.

– Simon Wills, General Manager
The Shard is the latest addition to the tiny cityscape Credit: ITV News West Country

A replica of the London Shard takes pride of place in the town centre section of the expanding display. It joins a number of miniature landmarks at the attraction, including Stonehenge. It has been made by Bristol-based Amalgam Models for more than £40,000 and has hi-tech lighting installed. This will combine with laser beams to create quite a spectacle in the evenings.

There is even a webcam operating at the top of the model, offering visitors a chance to see the view from the Babbacombe Shard.

The addition of the Shard model marks a milestone in the village’s remarkable history, during which time we have always tried to stay up-to-date with events and news. The Shard will add a new and different element to the visitor experience – one which we hope will keep people wanting more.

– Simon Wills, General Manager
Visitors love finding the humour in the displays - here, for example, is a zebra crossing. Credit: ITV News West Country

The Model Village was built by Tom Dobbins and opened on 12th April 1963. He was born in Southport in Lancashire in 1917. He had a dream of creating one of the finest model villages in the country - and indeed created his first in Southport in 1956. He started work in a natural valley in Devon in 1961 and Babbacombe opened two years later.

It has grown and evolved over the years - often providing a quirky comment on British life. Staff expect the attraction to continue to be transformed for many years to come. Here's Simon Wills, the General Manager:

You can find out more about Babbacombe Model Village here.

One of the most popular models is a dragon that breathes real fire Credit: ITV News West Country