Day 6

You can visit a mountain of mannequin parts in the English countryside — and even take some home

In a field near the former Royal Air Force station in Fulbeck, England, is Mannakin Hall. The attraction, run by Roz Edwards, is home to various mannequin displays — and a graveyard of the life-size figures, complete with their assorted parts.

Mannakin Hall, a creepy attraction filled with retired retail dummies, is gearing up for Halloween

A mountain of mannequins and their various parts sits at Mannakin Hall, an attraction in Fulbeck, England. (Roberta Hall)

You might not expect to see a mountain of mannequins while visiting the English countryside, but it's exactly what Roz Edwards has on offer.

Mannakin Hall sits in a field near the former Royal Air Force station in Fulbeck, England. The attraction is home to various mannequin displays — and a graveyard of the life-size figures, complete with their assorted parts.

And on Halloween, visitors will be able to tour the spooky site.

For £50 (about $85 Cdn), visitors can also drive into the site and fill their trunk with pieces to take home. "It's almost like a supermarket sweep," said Edwards.

And according to the hall's founder, visitors have creative ideas beyond dressing up the discarded mannequins.

"They're making things out of them, so probably a lamp base or a planter," she told CBC Radio's Day 6.

"The most popular bits are a female torso, usually headless so that they can fit the lamp fitting at the top."

Edwards warns, jokingly of course, that visitors should be aware of the child mannequins that are known to run around Mannakin Hall. (Submitted by Roz Edwards)

Mannakin Hall began in the front room of Edwards's home in 2007. From there, her displays grew from a shipping container and eventually to an 8,000-square-foot warehouse.

But over time, the need for even more space — especially for her growing Halloween tour — led her to the rural site. 

"As soon as I put my head over the gate, I just said, 'I've got to have it.' I don't know why. Buildings are old, I said, but there's something really special here," she said.

Meeting The Oracle

Visitors are greeted by an array of mannequins in poses and settings — and in various levels of "distress" thanks to mother nature — on their visit to the hall.

As they walk through the site, they even meet some stationary personalities.

"You have a chat with the mannequin that we have called The Oracle because she can talk and she can tell your future," said Edwards. 

Visitors can take in short films about mannequins produced by independent filmmakers alongside an audience of, you guessed it, mannequins, at the Real Cinema in Mannakin Hall. (Submitted by Roz Edwards)

Because of the pandemic, tickets are limited and sold in pairs — a much safer approach, the curator jokes, given the presence of free-running mannequin children on the property.

Besides visitors, Mannakin Hall has also been rented out for fashion photo shoots and as a film set. 

Some of Edwards's mannequins even made an appearance at the Glastonbury music festival for a special guest.

"I was asked to take some mannequins down there and ... dressed the whole stage with them," she recalled.

"Unbeknownst to me was that Lady Gaga was coming to do a very secret set on this stage. So there are some wonderful footage of her dancing around and singing with the mannequins."

Edwards, curator of Mannakin Hall, adds a torso to a mountain of mannequins. (Paul Greeves)

Saved from the dump

Edwards says that her unconventional business is helping businesses limit their environmental footprint. Retailers regularly refresh their mannequin displays. 

"Of course, you need to think about all of the manufacturing, all the shipping, transport, et cetera, et cetera, for the new mannequins to come in," she told Day 6.

And as the new ones roll in, the older models typically find their way to the trash bin.

"Instead of them going to landfill, they bring them to me and then we've got the opportunity to reuse them," she said.

Edwards gathers the mannequins at Mannakin Hall from retailers who would otherwise send them to the landfill. (Paul Greeves)

With days until Halloween, all those mannequins make for a perfect All Hallow's Eve outing. Children are invited, but thanks to the frights, Edwards notes it'll be drive through only.

"Some of the parents that came last year … have said that their children would be too scared to walk around because they're of a certain age."

Written by Jason Vermes. Produced by Laurie Allan. 

Hear full episodes of Day 6 on CBC Listen, our free audio streaming service.

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