The tiny house movement has been gaining momentum in the US for years, both as a means of affordable housing for people with low incomes, and also as an alternative for people who are interested in streamlining their lives.
It’s not an entirely new idea, however. If fact, it’s pretty old. The smallest tiny in Britain, for example, was built in the 16th century in the town of Conwy, in North Wales.
Currently a cheery red spot in a row of whitewashed buildings, the house was built as an infill between the two cottages on either side of it.
According to the Welsh new publication The Daily Post, it is only 72 inches across, 122 inches high, and 120 inches deep. It was used as a residence from the time of its construction until 1900, when the local Council finally decided it was too small to be habitable.
In addition to its minuscule scale, the back wall of the house is part of the wall that surrounds the town, meaning that the residence could get pretty damp.
At the time the Council decided to end its use as home, the tenant who occupied it was a man named Robert Jones. Jones was a fisherman and stood a whopping 6’3”, and couldn’t stand up straight inside.
Local rumor was that when he slept, his feet stuck out the window. When visitors came calling, they had to congregate outside, since there wasn’t enough room for them to sit comfortably indoors.
When the house and several of its neighbors were declared uninhabitable, the neighboring dwellings were torn down, but this tiny house was kept and made into a tourist attraction by the family that continues to own it, even now.
It maintains that status to this day, and is open to the public from March through October. Visitors can go in and have a look around for the cost of one pound for adults, and 50 pence for children under 16.
Despite its doll-house-like proportions and status in the Guinness Book, not all tourists are impressed by the home. In fact, taking a look at the reviews for the site on Trip Advisor makes it clear that some visitors have been distinctly underwhelmed. Some of the reviews have actually complained about its size.
One user, Robert J, left a review remarking that it was just a small house, holding little value except for its size.
923Dan shared a similar sentiment, calling it uninspiring, an overgrown outbuilding, and a spot to avoid.
Beth F wrote that her opinion was that since it lacked a real kitchen or bathroom facilities it didn’t count as a house all, that it was just a place where people sleep.
A couple of other users also called its use as a residence into question, despite the historical record. A user calling themselves Passcat said it wasn’t really a house, and called it a small extension.
User Pam G. said she thought it was just used by fishermen to house their nets and wasn’t a house at all.
Several users commented in their reviews that they were surprised or unhappy that there was an admission fee, despite the fact that it’s clearly stated on the website and the family pays for a staff person to talk about the house’s history.
Despite 34 reviews in the ‘poor’ and ‘terrible’ range, the vast majority of the reviews are far more positive, with 539 in the ‘excellent’ range, and another 373 rating the attraction as ‘good.’
Last month a review was left by user Carole S., saying that she has visited the site many times and wanted to address the negative comments left by other visitors. She called the price a bargain, and pointed out that the house’s size is what makes it iconic.
She also discussed the fact that over the years, thousands of people have entered the building, looked at the old pictures inside, and seen the tiny bedroom.
She also pointed out that the house brings curious people to the town’s waterside, who then spend money in local business, bringing revenue to the community.
Clearly, not everyone is going to find the site fascinating, as not everyone has the same tastes and interests, but for people who are interested in the old and the miniature, this little house in Conwy remains a valued site.