Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Birts Street, Worcestershire


I didn't expect to find a house made out of an old railway carriage in the English Midlands. I'd associated dwellings like this, which are not at all common these days, with coastal plotland settlements. But here it is in rural Worcestershire, not far from the borders with Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. It's not far, in fact from Hollybush, a place I posted about long ago, where there are houses on and near the common that look as if they may have their origins in squatters' dwellings. And also round the corner is a corrugated iron church, no longer used for worship. So the railway-carriage bungalow is in good company and perhaps I shouldn't have been quite so surprised to find this form of rough and ready architecture hereabouts. If there's something incongruous about a timber-framed gable that also incorporates the end of the carriage, with the curving line of its roof clearly visible, not to mention the white front door, then so be it. Apparently there's another carriage forming the back of the bungalow too. In harking back to a time in the early-20th century when someone could buy an old carriage or two for a song, live in it, then add to it to make a more substantial house when funds allowed, it adds up to the kind of ingenious bricolage that I can enjoy. Here's to do-it-yourself.

My post about Hollybush is here, and the nearby tin church is here.


Peter Ashley said...

Is there a dismantled railway line near? Or indeed one still in use?

Philip Wilkinson said...

I think it's 3 or 4 miles as the crow flies from the line that links Ledbury and Malvern.

Joseph Biddulph (Publisher) said...

There used to be a whole settlement of utterly romantic squatters' houses with verandas, tin chimneys, etc. somewhere in the lanes by Kinver or Wolverley (circa 1959). When I visited with my parents, house-hunting, I was so charmed by the one we saw I became bitterly disappointed when told it had no legal status - and I suppose, I have secretly wanted to live in a house like that ever since!. In more recent years, I was similarly moved by a corrugated iron house at Fishguard, Pembrokeshire. I nearly always seek such places out if I can. And - oh yes- there used to be "secret village" of such houses
within walking distance of the centre of Solihull - somebody knocked them all down and built rather uninteresting "proper" houses in their place, respecting none of the mature trees in the squatters' gardens.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Joseph: Evocative memories: thank you. I used to like the corrugated iron houses near Bewdley, but most of these have now been converted to rather less interesting 'pine lodge' structures.