October 30, 2020

Coronavirus: Britain’s smallest house remains closed

Quay House, Conwy Image copyright Philip Jeffrey
Image caption The distinctive red house on the Conwy quayside has been closed during the pandemic

Britain’s smallest house is staying closed – because it is impossible for people to socially distance within it.

Visitors to the former fisherman’s cottage in Conwy can stand outside but not go in for a whistle-stop tour.

The tiny 16th Century house, measuring 10ft by 5.9ft (3m by 1.8m), was declared unfit for habitation in 1900.

It had been the home of 6ft 3ins (1.9m) fisherman Robert Jones, but he was too tall to stand up inside the rooms and the local council forced him to leave.

The house has become a popular attraction, with £1 tours of the premises on offer until the coronavirus lockdown in March.

Indoor attractions in Wales were given the go-ahead to reopen on 13 July, subject to health and safety precautions including 2m social distancing.

However, a statement for the owners said: “In light of the Covid-19 virus and to protect our staff and visitors, The Smallest House in Great Britain will remain closed until further notice.”

While it remains closed, tour guide Amanda Whitehead – who usually works on cruise ships – is using a walkie-talkie to help tourists explore the quayside.

Image copyright Wales News Service
Image caption Amanda Whitehead has come ashore from cruise ship work to offer tours of the quayside

While she has no connection with the property, she has set up a business offering tours of the quayside and town now that lockdown restrictions have eased.

“Instead of complaining about what has happened I have put my energy into being creative and doing something new,” she said.

“My first customers were a family, where the mum was very interested in the history, the dad wanted to know about the engineering behind how the town was built, and I told the children some of the ghost stories.”