Stoke & Staffordshire

Restored Kinver Rock House opens

A restored rock house built inside a cave has opened at a National Trust property in Staffordshire.

The Kinver Rock Houses date from 1770. One has been restored to show what life was like for residents in the 1930s.

At its height 11 families lived in the cave homes and it is believed they came about in response to a housing shortage for employees of the Hyde Iron Works.

The restored home will tell the story of typical rock residents such as the Reeves who lived there until 1937.

Internal dimensions

When the last two families moved out in the late 1950s the 11 homes began to fall into disrepair.

The National Trust bought the complex of rock homes in the mid 1960s, each comprising a bedroom and separate living area.

Image caption In 1964 the National Trust paid £113 and 19 shillings for a Rock House

In 1964 the trust paid £113 and 19 shillings for one of the rock homes.

Three levels of homes were constructed in the rock. None of them had electricity or running water or toilets. Families shared an outdoor privy.

Three homes on the bottom tier were restored and opened to the public in the 1990s.

The trust has since restored one of the homes on the top tier which was converted into a tea-room by the Reeve family and which is still used as a tea room.

The Reeves moved into one of the rock houses in 1932.

Mr and Mrs WH Reeves lived in one house.

Next door their adult son and his wife, Mr and Mrs SHE Reeves lived with two children in a house known as the Martindale Caves.

The Martindale Caves is the latest rock house to be restored.

Rock House custodian Mike Parker said: "The new house gives us a chance to tell more stories about the people who lived here and add another dimension to the visitor experience.

"Many of the families who lived in them would have been connected to the Hyde Works. When that closed in the late 19th century people began moving away from the Rock Houses.

"There would have been a mix of owner-occupiers and tenants. It's likely the family would have paid a bit less for the rock house than for a conventional home with similar dimensions, because of the lack of facilities."

A family fun day will be held at the Kinver Rock Houses from 11:00 GMT to 16:00 GMT on Saturday to celebrate the opening of the latest rock home.

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