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Smallest House Attraction Conwy Quay
Smallest House Conwy Harbour
Smallest House in Great Britain, situated on the quayside is a landmark tourist attraction overlooking the harbour in Conwy, North Wales. I loved to visit this little red painted house when on holiday here as a child. Now I live in Conwy and always take a little peek inside when I go to the quay. The tiny abode is built up against the Town Walls and is a stones throw from the closest public house, The Liverpool Arms, which is said to be haunted. The Smallest House is also close to Conwy Castle and has its own entry in the Guiness Book of World Records as being the smallest one in the British Isles, it being just 72 inches across, 122 inches high and 120 inches deep. It has been a tourist attraction for over a century, the last person to live in this narrow dwelling was Robert Jones, a six foot tall fisherman who moved out in 1900.
The home was built in the sixteenth century during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First. Originally an "in-fill" between two existing properties, it is over 400 years old and is still structurally sound but was declared unfit for human habitation in 1900. The property has been vacant ever since. The two storey, compact, red terrace now attracts thousands of tourists every year and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the town.
If you are a visitor to Conway, you will find many fine examples of medieval architecture and places to see. There is the Suspension bridge and toll house, Conwy Castle, Plas Mawr and of course the magnificent town walls, one of the best preserved examples in the UK.
Where to Find The Smallest House
Tel: 01492 593484
Dates: Open April to October inclusive, Daily, 10.00am to 6.00pm
Why was the Smallest House built?
The Smallest House was not built as a touist attraction. It was a residence until 15 May 1900 when the last occupant, Robert Jones, left. It came into being because originally houses were built in rows against the town walls. One row was built from the north end of the street southwards and one row was built from the south end of the street northwards. When the houses were finished the two rows didn't quite meet and eventually a house was built to fill the gap at minimal cost. The southern row of houses numbers 1 to 9, has long since gone, leaving the Smallest House at the end of the row of the northern row of houses.
Has anybody lived in the Smallest House in Great Britain?
Occupied for almost 400 years
The house was occupied from the 16th century, up until the turn of the twentieth century. This small house has not been lived in now for over 100 years. The last person to live in the Smallest House in Great Britain was a fisherman called Robert Jones. The fisherman was 6' 3" (1.9 metres) and could not fully stand up in the two tiny rooms. It's even rumoured that his feet poked out of the upstairs window when he was in bed. He was forced to move out in 1900 after having lived there for fifteen years, when the council declared the house unfit for human habitation due to there being no toilet facilities. His monthly rent at the time was 1 shilling, which was 5 pence. The property is still owned by one of his descendants, Mrs Margaret Williams. The previous occupants were an elderly couple and the house was also home to a young family.
How Big is the Smallest House?
It's a Tiny House
The house measures 72 inches across, 122 inches high and 120 inches deep. There are two rooms connected by a wooden staircase. The lower part has a settle which doubles as a coal bunker and there is a water tap behind the stairs. Upstairs there is room for a bed, wash stand and dressing table with a cubby hole for storage. All the cooking was done on the open fire. The narrowest dwelling in the UK is also six foot across and is in Sussex. It is also in the Guinness book of Records and still occupied today.
The last occupant, Robert Jones struggled to stand up once inside the house, him being 6'3" tall. The door itself is less than 5' tall.
Originally the house was due for demolition after the last occupant left in 1900. The smallest house was saved by the then editor of the North Wales Weekly News, Roger Dawson. He realised that having the smallest house in Great Britain would be a huge asset to the town of Conwy. Roger Dawson sent a story to all the daily newspapers accross the UK staking Conwy's claim. His plan worked because he got back several replies from towns and villages who claimed that they had the smallest house in the country. Roger Dawson and Robert Jones then went all over the UK, measuring houses. They visited London, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall with their tape measure and proved that Conwy was indeed the home of the Smallest House in Great Britain.
Soon after this, the house was opened as a tourist attraction and visitors paid a penny to look inside. Two photographs were taken, one of the owners second wife dressed in Welsh national dress, standing outside the house and the the other of the last occupant standing outside. These were the original postcards that visitors could buy. Both postcards are still available today.
The current entrance fee (2013) is Â£1.00 per adult, 50p for children and under fives are free. Margaret Williams, the current owner, or one of her helpers wears the traditional Welsh costume and there are a variety of souvenirs available to buy. The commentary is available in 22 languages.
Conwy visitor information
Places to visit in Conwy
There are several interesting places to visit in the walled town of Conway. The town has some fantastic and unique shops selling a wide range of goods. Conway has no major High Street retailers, making the whole shopping experience charmingly odd. Edwards, the renowned local butcher, takes centre stage on the narrow High Street. Edwards sell the finest local meats and you can also pick up a hot or cold lunch from the delicatessen inside the shop.
With several shops selling there own particular oddities, a wonderful day of browsing can be had on Conway High Street and Castle Street, where most of the shops are. You are also spoiled for choice when it comes to a lunchtime pint with seven public houses to choose from selling both international brands and a range of locally brewed beers. Some of the public houses serve food and of course being a harbour town Conwy has its fair share of fish and chip restaurants and take-aways.
With a visit to the Smallest House ticked off, you cannot really go to Conwy without a visit to Conwy Castle, one of the finest examples of medieval architecture still standing. Conwy is also home to one of the finest standing Elizabethan town houses still standing. Plas Mawr, right at the centre of the town itself and built for a wealthy merchant called Robert Wynne, is a testament to the era of prosperity that it was built in. Plas Mawr, Great Hall was built between 1576 and 1585, the tall, lime rendered walls reflecting the status of its first occupant.
An often forgotten attraction in Conwy is another small house. This is actually the first attraction you will pass as you drive into Conwy over the bridge. As you pass the Conwy sign, pull into the small parking area on the left hand side. Here you will find the Telford suspension bridge, opened in 1826. As you enter the property you will find the original toll keepers house on the right. The property is now managed by the National Trust. Entry to the suspension bridge costs just Â£1.00 and includes entry to the family home of the toll-keeper. You can actually stay parked here and make your way directly to the Castle once you have crossed the bridge.
Smallest House further information
- Tripadvisor reviews of Smallest House
See what other people think of this landmark attraction on Conwy Harbour. The cottage is visited by thousands of people each year, it's a must see attraction on a visit to the walled town. TripAdvisor reviews are very positive about the place.
- History Points
Learn how the house became an attraction after a local entrepreneur spotted the potential of the property. The open entertainment area to the side of the property at one time had a row of houses similar to others at the harbour side location.
Facts about the dwelling on Wikipedia include property area and dimensions and current admission charges. It also refers to the fact that whilst visitors may view the upstairs from the top of the step ladder, it is not possible to go into the room.
YouTube Smallest House
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