CONDEMNED as unfit for human habitation
in the mid-1960s, the four cottages could have been saved by an
exciting idea for their future.
Not the single cottage that
they became, but "Nantwich's first folk museum." That was the
description of the idea as reported in the Nantwich Chronicle around
The report said that of the
houses, "which were built in 1502", one had been empty for 10 years
after a closing order. It added that the middle two were
"voluntarily closed nearly four years ago".
The fourth was still
occupied, the newspaper reported. That house was the subject of a
discussion at a meeting of Nantwich Urban District Council housing
Listing 17 defects, the
then Housing Officer, Mr E. W. Bushell, said the building could not be
made fit for human habitation "at reasonable expense".
But one councillor, Reg
Whalley, appealed for the building to be preserved - although he
didn't know what for. He added that "it would seem a shame" if
had to be demolished.
(later Alderman) Tom Holman, suggested a museum as a future use. He
thought the town council might be able to acquire the cottages
"since they were scheduled for preservation".
At a later one-day school
organised by Nantwich Workers' Educational Association, the Clerk of
the Council, Mr D. Tudor Evans, was asked if Nantwich could have a
museum for relics of its history.
The Clerk was reported as
saying: "We have a natural museum in Nantwich itself."
A Chronicle reporter called
on one resident
and found that, although the cottages appeared to
have small rooms, some American tourists who had been able to see
inside the property were "pleasantly surprised at the height of the
The resident told the reporter: "As for
points like having no hand rail on the stairs, I have never had one
so I never miss it!"
A DOCUMENT unearthed by Andrew Lamberton,
based on the Town Rate Books, lists the occupants of 110 to 116
Starting in 1792, it goes
on to list two bootmakers and a carter living there in 1896.
1913, there was a pointsman and a bricklayer.
Achilles Davenport is
listed as the occupant of No 116 in 1953.
But from 1969 to 1974 the
cottages were listed as empty.
In 1977, after the cottages
were merged into one, there was one occupant listed.
NANTWICH still doesn't have a folk
museum as such, but it does have a museum described as "the home of
the town's history".
The picture on the left - as published in the Nantwich Chronicle -
was drawn in 1962 by a well-known Nantwich artist, J. Hadyn Jones
(1923 - 1977). He was
famed for his pen and ink, black and white drawings, although he
also produced some coloured drawings later in his life. Prints
from Harvest Interiors, Pepper Street, Nantwich.