Some time ago a friend excitedly told me about the Doll's Hospital in Praça de Figueira in Lisbon! When I was there I thought it was fantastic! It would be a great place for me to work with or without salary.
In March I thought it could be a good place to buy a present for my soon to be 4 years old Darling Daughter. I wanted (I did not know whether my daughter wanted or not) a big doll that DD1 can dress up with her old baby clothes.
When I saw all the dolls dressed in all different kinds of dresses I was overjoyed. It would have been ideal for me to buy an Asian doll because I am Mongolian. DD1 already has a few dolls with blue and green eyes. At that time the shop did not have Asian dolls but the owner said that in September they might have big Asian dolls, which could be 60cm high. I can return and get another doll for my DD2's second birthday.
In 1830 an old lady called Dona Carlota sat in her small shop sewing dolls clothes, which children and their parents passing by were happy to see. Since then the Doll's Hospital has been making and restoring children's favourite toys for almost two centuries.
The current owner Manuela Cutileiro, a former teacher and a very pleasant lady, runs the Doll's Hospital with her daughter Catarina. She has been there for 20 years and knows almost everything about dolls: where and when they were made and how they can be restored.
On my first visit I saw a customer picking up her forty something years old doll from the hospital. The doll had had treatment and she looked like new. The lady bought a dress for her doll and took home her beautiful friend of many years.
If you have an old doll waiting to be treated you can take it there and they will give you a quote. Just doing doll's hair could cost from €25 to €160 depending on the hair quality and style. But be patient because they do not have many "doctors" to treat dolls, so it could take some time. There was a room full of dolls and teddy bears to be washed, restored and dressed.
Dolls' houses can be bought here with furniture, cutlery, crockery and inhabitants. The shop sells all different dress sizes and silk dresses for antique dolls. If you wish to dress up your doll during the carnival you can buy carnival clothes too.
Upstairs with the hospital they have a little museum of old dolls and toys which occupies an old school, and the belongings from the school were left there. You can see an old typewriter, a record player and black and white photos of school children. My family back in Mongolia used to have similar typewriter and record player. The owner, Manuela, said that former school children visit the museum from time to time and are happy to see dolls and their old school items.
The hospital does not just restore dolls but they will also treat any size of teddy bear. A big brown bear (almost 2m high) from the Natura shop was waiting for its treatment after many hugs and kisses from shop goers' children.
The Doll's Hospital is another treasure in Lisbon's city centre. Here is the address:
Praça da Figueira, 7. Lisbon 1100-240
Tel: 21 342 8574
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