Tree House Construction Manual


The weather in Newark in June 1992 was drier than it is at the moment. Today I therefore scanned a batch of colour negatives produced during that month.

Building Tree House 1

Building Tree House 2

The erection of a rather splendid tree house in a false acacia tree in the garden of Lindum House had begun before I began to record it. Sam and Louisa had enlisted the help of brothers Gavin and Ian to begin the project.

Building Tree House 3

Louisa was a willing hod carrier, bearing planks for the flooring;

Building Tree House 4Building Tree House 6Building Tree House 7

further invention was employed for hauling up greater quantities.Β You may be forgiven for imagining that William Heath Robinson exerted some influence on this ingenuity. One rope was extended from this tree to another on the other side of the lawn. Attached to this was another bearing a faggot of heavy planks hauled across by Sam, in the bottom left of the picture. Gavin, up aloft awaited its arrival. This took me back to Kennards department store in Wimbledon which had a similar system for conveying cash from counter to office. As will be seen from this photograph you cannot keep a lawn while children are young and you have to accommodate a swing and goalposts.

Building Tree House 8Building Tree House 9

Gavin and Ian began the task of heaving the floorboards up to the required level.

Building Tree House 10Building Tree House 12Building Tree House 13Building Tree House 15Building Tree House 16Building Tree House 17Building Tree House 18Building Tree House 20Building Tree House 20

Sam was soon up there to add his muscle;

Building Tree House 21

Building Tree House 23Building Tree House 24

eventually the materials reached the required level.

Building Tree House 26

The next storey was soon in place.

Building Tree House 27

The roof bore the combined weight of Sam and James Bird.

Building Tree House 28Building Tree House 29Building Tree House 30

Louisa then joined in the test.

Building Tree House 31Building Tree House 32Building Tree House 33

Up to seven or eight children would sleep overnight in this three storey house.

A sequel to the story of this adventure is told in ‘The Tree House’.

This evening we dined on minted lamb steaks; roasted sweet potato, peppers and mushrooms; new potatoes, carrots, broccoli and greens. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank a 2015 Bordeaux.



  1. That is so wonderful, Derrick. It reminds me of the crazy things I did as a kid with friends and brothers – not always the safest structures, but so much fun and creativity. The treehouse is a masterpiece of kid ingenuity!

  2. What a splendid tree and treehouse–and such ingenuity! (And how fortunate they were to have documentary cameraman there.) πŸ™‚ It must have been quite sturdy to hold all those kids overnight. I imagine they must have happy memories of those times.

    1. Yes – so great that this was captured in photos. My cousins and I made many a treehouse, but we weren’t allowed to do it – so no one kept any records.

  3. If I have never said I want to be part of your tribe, then know this…. I do!
    As a life-long inveterate fan of tree houses I approve of this wholeheartedly and am turning green with envy
    You are a man who does all the things people dream of … ponies and tree houses, have I left anything out?

  4. I remember the tree-house my friends and I were building in my parent’s back yard, atop a gigantic burned stump. It was only one story and needed adult help to make sure the base was stable with the damage to the stump. We loved it just the same!

    I have one question though, what is a false acacia tree? Is it like a flowering cherry where it looks the same but bears no fruit?

  5. The tree house…ahhh…childhood dream. Or is it ? I read recently that the most requested rental for Air BNB is the full size tree house. Some things never change. Great set of progress photos, Derrick.

  6. I hope at least a few kids are doing creative projects like this wonderful tree house. A fantastic and fun learning experience. Oh the memories.

    1. Many thanks, Peggy. At Lepe, featured a day or two ago, a new visitor centre is in progress. One area, called ‘Wild’ is where you can climb trees and build dens. I do hope H & S won’t ruin the fun

  7. Wonderful, wonderful!! The building of forts and tree houses was such an important aspect of childhood days – I wonder if it is an art that is largely lost now due to helicopter parenting and H&S regulations……..

  8. Wonderful tree house. The tree reminds me of an old tree near my childhood home. I used to climb on it. The tree attracted not only children but snakes and birds that build their nests in it.

  9. Marvellous! Didn’t we have so much more fun as kids? I remember a tree house, rope swing and lots of nettles. Bottle of calamine on hand. Lovely memories Derrick, thanks ?

  10. Treehouses are the most wondrous playgrounds for kids. You’ve brought back plenty of my own fond treehouse memories. Mine was built in the big old peppercorn tree down in back corner of our reasonably large backyard.

  11. Great pictorial account of a tree house, Derrick! Ah, for the wonderful days of childhood summers, eh? I got a kick out of Roland’s remark about OSHA!!

  12. This is the kind of childhood that some of us can only dream of. We had no trees so the only construction that went on was the making of kites which we flew from the roof of our apartment until that was banned due to landing planes at Kai Tak Airport.

  13. Wow! Seven to eight kids in that treehouse. Scary to think about from a parent’s point of view. Sam sure favors you, Derrick, and all that wonderful hair, as well! ?

  14. A magnificent house in a magnificent tree!! As adults, Andy and I decided to build a tree hour in a large tree on our property. We never got beyond a platform, but we liked it up there.

  15. That looks amazing, Derrick! I love the expression ‘very Heath Robinson’ – my parents use it a lot! What an incredible project and sense of achievement.

Leave a Reply