“The Smallest House In Great Britain”?


Doubtless there are poor souls, objects of London landlord avarice, who are currently forced to live in smaller premises, but for many a year Quay House in the Welsh castle town of Conwy has claimed the title of Great Britain’s smallest house.

Local tales say it was built in the 16th century, but the official heritage listing says it was built as a fisherman’s cottage around the late 18th century or early 1800s. It nestles in a crevice beside Conwy’s Castle’s outer walls (they were built 1283-89 by Edward I). One room up, one room down, the vital statistics are 3 metres ( 10 feet) high, 2.5 metres (8 feet) deep, and 1.8 metres (5 feet 9 inches) wide. The last occupant was one Robert Jones – a fisherman, and since he was 6 feet 3” tall (190 cm), he was unable to stand upright in either of his two rooms. He lived there until 1900 when the council condemned the place as unfit for habitation.

The little house, though, is still owned by Robert Jones’ descendants, the property inherited down the female line, and the present owner continuing to run it as a tourist attraction. Inside, on the ground floor there is only room for an open range and a bench with storage space along one wall. A ladder provides access to the upstairs single bed and tiny fireplace. The guide wears what passes for the traditional dress of Welsh womenfolk sans styrofoam accessory.


Six Word Saturday


You can read more about the sights of Conwy and surrounding area here.

31 thoughts on ““The Smallest House In Great Britain”?

  1. Hi Tish, I hardly have words that come to me to imagine a man of that size (let alone a smaller person) ever living “comfortably” in a space such as this, you would have had to be one to enjoy the great outdoors, such as a fisherman, and just have a dry place to lay your head down. In todays terms, it would have been better than a jail, at least you had freedom to come and go, though it seems that the word “despair” would have had to be a way of life in those time in something so small.

    As always I love to read your stories, and see the places of Great Britain, the UK and Africa, always a great way to be transported to these places through photography and words. 🙂

    1. Happy to take you journeying, Mitch, and you’re right about the great outdoors. Most things had to be done outside the house for lack of space. There is apparently room to get 4 people in there sardine-wise.

  2. That does sound like a very small house in Britain, and if the local tale is true, then Robert must have loved that place very much to have lived in it – not being able to stand up straight indoors must have been rather annoying and maybe stressful at times. It looks very fresh and well-maintained on the outside, and its owners must currently be up-keeping it often and looking out for it if it needs repairs. Stunning red coat of colour on the front door.

    1. It has been recently repaired, Mabel. You are right. The present owner is a lawyer and she commutes back and forth between Conwy and Oxford. She inherited it from her aunt, a well known Conwy-born journalist who was famous for her red lipstick. That fact may have a bearing on the present colour of the house 🙂

      1. Seems like the house has the personality of its previous owners…and maybe as time goes on, it will take on another personality. If so, I still think people will be drawn to it because of the way it is. Wonderful write up, and thanks so much for sharing, Tish 🙂

  3. Our younger daughter and I saw this (from the outside only), when we visited Conwy some years ago. Conwy is beautiful, especially the castle! Thanks for the memories.


    1. I think you’re right size-wise. I think the colour was to do with previous owner who was famous for her red lipstick, though I’m only guessing. She was a well known local journalist and writer.

  4. I guess the good news is that if she runs out of space, she can probably live in that hat. 😉 Great post! Very interesting. 🙂

  5. She’s ahead of her time, Tish! 🙂 🙂 I’d love to live in that little house. A big fat castle to protect me and the beach just over the road. Near perfect 🙂

  6. What a colorful place! The circular stone edifice reminded me of the Solent Forts (much larger of course) and my time sailing that area. Have never been to Wales but will make my way back to the UK someday. Looking forward to it

  7. I’ve been looking at some contemporary “tiny houses” lately, and I have to say that even with my shortish stature I struggle. Poor Robert! Though of course I’m imposing my 21st century values about space.

    1. It’s good to have your historian’s ‘eye’, Su. It’s too easy to judge by our own standards. I gather that before Robert an elderly couple lived there. I’m wondering if they slept in shifts or how they got up and down the ladder-steps to bed, or if they scrunched themselves into the little bed how they extricated themselves in the morning, stiff joints and all. How lucky we are!

      1. That does sound like a challenge! I have arthritis in my knee and it’s totally changed my view of tiny house living. There is no way I would willingly scramble up a ladder (or even steep stairs) to go to bed. It’s bad enough that my bedroom is upstairs in our house but at least I have an ensuite loo. We are definitely fortunate to have lots of living space and indoor plumbing

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