Cambridgeshire

'Landmark' Fens cottage's last occupants happy with listed status

Thelma and Ken Wright
Image caption Thelma and Ken Wright, now in their 70s and 80s respectively, spent five years in the cottage - and are keen to return to mark their Diamond Wedding anniversary

The last occupants of an unheated Grade II-listed farm worker's cottage said they were very happy there despite "false teeth freezing in the glass".

Thelma and Ken Wright began their married life at Canary Cottage, Knarr Farm, near Thorney in Cambridgeshire in 1960.

They were pleased the 18th Century building had received listed status.

The couple spent five years in the "characterful local landmark", which has no indoor loo and open fires.

Image copyright Historic England
Image caption The small cottage offered very basic accommodation to the couple, who moved out in 1965
Image copyright Historic England
Image caption The little sitting room has an open fire, but the couple have no pictures of their stay in the building

The cottage, which Historic England said was a "rare surviving example of a mid-18th Century fenland cottage", has remained empty ever since.

There is a sitting room and kitchen downstairs and two bedrooms upstairs - with a single tap in the kitchen.

Mr Wright said in the winter of 1963 it was so cold his "false teeth froze in the glass - you had to thaw them out before you could use them".

The couple, who now live in Paston in Peterborough, met while working on Knarr Farm.

Mrs Wright was pleased it had been listed and said it would have been "terrible if the cottage had been knocked down".

"We liked living there, we were happy and everyone liked visiting us," she said.

"I can't drive by without turning around and looking at it."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Travellers can see the white-painted building from the A47 Wisbech Road between Guyhirn and Thorney

Historic England believes the "characterful local landmark" inspired a cottage in the Lilliput Lane miniatures series.

Mrs Wright added they would like to return to the cottage, which is now owned by Dalton Seeds, to mark their 60th wedding anniversary on 12 November 2020.

The company's managing director Peter Fox said he would be "delighted" to the host the couple.

"It would be only right that Mr and Mrs Wright should cross the threshold again," he said.

"And I'll make sure we've got anti-freeze in for Mr Wright's teeth, in case it's freezing."

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