Ramsey Rural Museum

Fen Cottage Project

The Dismantling Renovation and Subsequent Re-erection at Ramsey Rural Museum

Location

Darlow farm cottage, was situated at Darlow farm off the B660 approximately 3 miles from Ramsey St Mary’s and is a short walk from the Great Ravely Drain on the Holme Fen.

Construction

The cottage is a typical two-bedroom fen cottage.  Built entirely of wood in the early 1930s, it had no running water, electricity or main drainage.

The water supply, from two rain water butts supplied water to the coal fired boiler in the kitchen, bath and hand basin in the small bathroom; and if these ran out it was a walk to the nearby drain to fill buckets.  Heating was by coal fires in each room, and all cooking was done on a typical kitchen range of that period.  The toilet was at the end of the garden.

Occupancy

Darlow cottage was the home of the Papworth family and where the late  Marshall Papworth was born, a co-founder of Ramsey Rural Museum.  His family lived there until after the war.  Alfred Tungate, his wife Mabel and daughter Audrey also occupied it in 1954.  Since the last occupants moved out, a number of years ago, the cottage has remained empty.

Prelude

In November 2005, it was realised that the cottage, which was still in reasonable condition despite years of non-occupancy, would be flooded when the Great Fen Project, got under way.  Because of its history with Marshall Papworth, and his connection with the Museum, the great fen project offered the cottage to the Museum free of charge, providing they carried out the dismantling and transportation to the new site.  This offer was eagerly accepted by the Museum and thanks to the generosity of Lord De Ramsey, who has provided extra land at the Museum; an area has been set aside to re-erect the cottage. 

This has now been achieved with a lot of hard work and dedication from the volunteers.  The rebuilding of the Cottage began in July 2011, when the footings and ground work were started, and finally finished in March 2012. 

Visitors can now walk around the cottage and see all the rooms set out with authenticate 1940’s style furniture and fitments.  In the garden at the back apple trees have been planted to form a hedge row.  These were donated by the Huntingdon Council.

The Tungate Family

The Tungate Family239

 Alfred Tungate, his wife Mabel and daughter Audrey who occupied the Cottage in 1954.