The History of Damgate Holiday Cottage

Damgate Cottage when a shop, circa 1940Damgate Cottage is believed to have been built as a merchant's town house in around the year 1500 and along with many in Damgate street, is Grade two listed. Though updated and much altered over the years much of the original timber framing of the cottage is retained including the beautiful brattishing (carvings) to the oak beams in the lounge. This style of carving probably by a single local carpenter is peculiar to this area and can be found in some other buildings around Wymondham including the Green Dragon Inn.

Around the cottage you will find evidence of a blocked doorway and burnt marks on the wall beams from when candles were the only light source.

Sadly none of the fireplaces are working (both chimney stacks terminate below the roofline)

Damgate Street was once the A11 road between Norwich to London so was once a busy street with two way traffic, at points the road is narrow and there are amusing photos in local history books with two busses wedged between buildings. The street has since by-passed is now considerably quieter and is now single lane with footpaths either side.

Little is known of Damgate Cottage before 1925 when it was bought by James and Ethel Felstead and used as a Tobacconists and Sunday Newsagents shop with penny lending library. After James' death Ethel continued to run the shop until she died in 1950 when the shop continued to be run for a short time by her assistant.

Damgate Street in busier times, circa 1940In 1963 the house was sold by auction and was bought by the Wymondham Ex-Serviceman's club (now in the old regal cinema in Friarscroft Lane). I am told by some of the older locals, in the lounge there was a mahogany bar with tables and dart board on the ground floor whilst the upstairs rooms (now bedrooms) were used as offices and meeting spaces. In 1964 a large extension was added to the rear of the house (now a separate dwelling) to house pool tables and cloak facilities.

In 1978 the cottage was converted into Michaels Hair Fashions who used the premises as a salon with a dwelling flat above. When Mr Michaels retired in 2002 the shop was converted back into a house and much of the original character (once covered by plasterboard and mock timbering) was exposed. The beams in the lounge and bedrooms have been stripped back having been painted black or boxed in.