Cliffe Cottage Memories, Stratford

Cliffe Cottage, Stratford upon Avon. 1949 [Location unknown]
IMAGE LOCATION: (Warwickshire County Record Office)
Reference: EAC, 218, img: 10200
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This was my auntie and uncle’s home. It was beside the river, on a plot with a boathouse, both accessed down a long track off Warwick Road. My uncle renovated/extended it in the 1950s. When they bought it, it had a hand pump in the garden as it’s only water supply, no electricity, no services and was accessed by walking along the edge of fields.

Alongside Cliffe Cottage, he also restored and extended the Boathouse for my grandparents to live in. The boathouse sat closer to the creek that ran beside the river. The creek was deep enough for their little blue motor boat to moor on the small wooden jetty at the foot of the garden, enabling shopping trips to Stanford-upon-Avon by river.

Landscaped the garden

Between the creek and the river was an island of bull rushes which screened The Boathouse. Cliffe Cottage was set about 20 feet further up the sloping garden, slightly left of the Boathouse. Uncle and Grandpa landscaped the garden area sympathetically around the old fruit trees (plum, pear, apple, and damson); there was also a huge oak tree. There were neat beds of vegetables and salad stuff. Wisteria climbed the river-fronted , red bricked cottage, Clematis climbed the likewise river fronted Boathouse.

Cliffe Cottage originally had two rooms downstairs, beamed and with an open fire. The stairs were behind a door, steep and winding. Upstairs one huge bedroom and a small room. Uncle built on a two storey extension to house a boot room, kitchen and bathroom.downstairs; a third bedroom upstairs.

A wooden bridge discovered

The Boathouse was single storey, extended from the original boathouse/workshop. When water pipes were being laid to the Boathouse, a wooden bridge was discovered underground from when the creek was positioned to run into the Boathouse to facilitate boat repairs. A strip of land was purchased and made into a permanent track to enable car access from Warwick Road. Fields surrounded the two homes on all sides – only the the front view field, separated by the river, didn’t edge onto their wrap around garden. It was beautiful. It was magical.

It’s all gone now, a new house built to replace it years ago.