- November 2019 -
Good news!! --The new thatch is complete!
Some before and after photos below...
Some more photos in a picture PDF.... HERE
..and some close ups of the work itself from Mathew Stokes... HERE 
..thank you Mathew..
- 1st October 2019 -
The re-thatching work has actually started!... :)
....the picture below shows some of the new thatch being laid along the ridge....
- September 2019 - 
.. Some good news at last! ..
Jill King has emailed to let us know that planning permission for the re-thatching has been granted ... and there's more!..
Scaffolding and bundles of thatch reed  have appeared on site (see below)
  Hopefully, the re-thatching work is now imminent?... Watch this space!
- August 2019 -
... Bad news and (hopefully) some better news! ...
The bad news is the current state of the thatch ...The photo below shows just how bad it is now (late August 2019) 
The better news is that a planning appliction has now been filed to repair it ...
You can find copies of the application documents:  HERE and HERE 
So -- fingers crossed!!!
- 8th November 2017 -
The decison to grant planning permission for 2 dwellings in the garden of
has been published..
The Decision Document is available from the Council's panning portal...  
- or you can download a copy from HERE...
There's a lot of pre-conditions still to be resolved... the most important of which (from the Cottage point of view) seems to be paragraph 4(c)..... Let's hope things progress positively soon, so that the Cottage can receive some urgent repairs...



-------Update 1st NOVEMBER 2017------- 


The ongoing story of the Cottage has made the Echo again




------- Updated 29th OCTOBER 2017 -------


 The planning application for 2 dwellings finally came up before the Planning Committee on 16th October, and  planning permission was - despite many objections - granted.

This despite a number of issues not yet resolved and of concern - not only to nearby residents - but to some members of the Planning Committee itself.... But, in a democracy, a majority vote carries the day!

There are as yet no updates to the online planning application documents, and there are a number of issues that will need to be resolved before any plans actually go ahead. 

There are still several issues regarding access to the proposed new homes, which include: 

• Who actually owns the access road

• The details of rubbish collection for the new houses (the dustcart will not be able to get to them)

• Lighting for the access road

• Perhaps most importantly - access for fire engines, in the event of an emergency (the Fire Officer has already expressed concerns over this )


On a different matter, there will still need to be resolution of how Moorside Cottage is to be protected from heavy vehicles requiring access to the site via the Cottage during building work...

Although the documentation indicates that 'care will be taken', there are currently no details of any actual sanctions that may be apllied in the event of  damage, following an accident - or from vibration.

Without having the constant awareness that any  damage to the Cottage could result in heavy financial penalties, one has to wonder how careful busy builders might remain?... All on which doesn't help the ever deteriorating Cottage.

Latest surveys suggest serious problems with the thatch, and even cracks in the north cob wall.

All this really needs to move forward quickly, but it would seem the wheels of the planning process grind exceedingly slowly, and that cannot be good news for the Cottage.

We continue to hope that all will be well's still not impossible...




The latest version of the proposed plans for building in the Cottage garden come up for consideration by the Planning Committee on Monday 16th October. You might like to check out the latest statements and our comments relating to them - by looking at the relevant page... HERE  ...   

(That is Support Statements dated 21.9.17 - and Comment no.41 dated 28.9.17 - all listed on the 'Associated Documents' page.)

As you will see, there is still some concern about the exact details of just how the Cottage is to be protected during any building work - particularly with regard to the likelihood of heavy vehicles trundling past the fragile structure.

We can hope that the Planning Committee will insist on robust supervision of the bulding work, with regard to the frailty of the Cottage at the present time. It does appear that the listing on the Agenda for this next meeting recommends granting planning permission this time.

....Let us hope that as many safeguards as possible are included with regard to potecting the future of Moorside Cottage...  



--------FEBRUARY 2017------

Sadly, the situation continues to remain unresolved, as the latest planning application is deferred.

CLICK HERE for the latest details....



-----SEPTEMBER 2015------

An interesting new document has been added to the planning application website index. A letter from ECA addressing many of the concerns about the cottage and the application. You can download from the planning website itself...

....or you can find a copy by clicking HERE ....

Some interesting comments on linking Cottage repairs to the application - which looks like excellent news!

There is also an Ecology report, a copy of which you can find HERE   

Again, there are some interesting details to be found in that document...

You can always keep in touch with the latest comments and developments by following.. 


..on our forum..





A Legal Notice is published following the ending of the periods for comments - See HERE

So the Planning Committee will not be considering the application until at least October. 

You can keep up to date with any new comments on our forum HERE -----



A planning application for the construction of 3 houses in the garden of Moorside Cottage has been submitted to Bournemouth Borough Council. You can find all the associated documentation on the Council planning application website which you can find by clicking: 


(Go to the planning register and look for reference number: 7-2015-13118-Q )

Unfortunately , that server can be unreliable at times, so you can find a copy of the most important and comprehensive document  - the Planning, Heritage and Access Statement  - by clicking:


As you will see, there is no mention at present of any remedial work to Moorside Cottage itself included in the current application. We are hopeful that any development of the site will allow for restoration of the Cottage to be included in the 'new' Moorside Cottage this space!.....

As you can see on the planning site linked to above, there are now over 30 comments that have been sent objecting to this planning application. The vast majority of the concerns raised seem to be about access. McWilliam Rd itself is narrow, and has an awkward junction with Malvern Rd.  Access to the proposed properties is to be via the single lane track that currently runs to No. 3 McWilliam Rd.  

It seems to be generally felt that the extra traffic generated from 3 new family homes could cause major problems with access for everyone involved. On the face of it, it looks as if there may have to be some changes to the proposed plans. The Planning Committee have a lot to consider.......

....Meanwhile the Cottage itself seems to be waiting patiently for the tender loving care it so deparately needs...... 


Moorside Cottage - this view was probably taken in the 1960's


Anyone who looks, even briefly, into the history of Moordown will very soon encounter stories about its oldest surviving 'jewel'  - Moorside Cottage - although it remains surprising just how few folk know exactly where it actually is!

Berni Hallam and Jill King describe the early history of the cottage in their booklet 'The Hamlet on the Heath', a copy of which you can find HERE

 It would be foolish to try and alter that elegant description, and so I reproduce it again here, as an introduction to the cottage.....


"This grade II listed building of cob wall construction with a thatched roof is believed by some to date back to the 17th century, as its listing date of construction is documented as 31/12/1699.  The building is clearly shown on a map dated 1840 in the listing details, but the 1802 Inclosure Award map for the Liberty of Westover, also documented, does not show the cottage, making the dating of 1699 suspect.   Nonetheless, Moorside Cottage in Moordown is one of only three thatched cob cottages remaining in Bournemouth

It is well hidden away from public view at the end of McWilliam Road, a single track cul-de-sac off Malvern Road, just below Mayfield Road.   This road was originally known as Portman Road, but was re-named in 1903 in honour of James McWilliam (Chairman of the Board of Commissioners 1874).   In spite of its secluded position, Moorside Cottage is well known to the many local residents who use McWilliam Road as a short cut to the public right of way, which takes them across Mayfield Road and on to Wimborne Road.  Some of the older residents refer to this path as School Lane, because it was their daily route to the Moordown village school at St John's church (now Old St John's Mews)

Originally the cottage was a pair of semi-detached dwellings, possibly belonging to the nearby Moordown Farm.

In a letter to the Bournemouth Echo in 1974, Annie Meech states that her parents went to live in one of these cottages in 1890, when she was a few months old.   She tells us that the cottages were condemned in 1899 because they were very old and the water from the well was unfit to drink.

However, the cottages were not demolished, being purchased by the Misses Harding, who converted them into a single cottage and had a bathroom and kitchen built on.  The extension has the date 1912 scratched into the rendering near the apex of its eaves. 

Ownership of Moorside Cottage passed to a Mr. Churchill and then to Mrs. Gifford in 1927.   She did not occupy the property at this time, but lived just round the corner in one the newly built houses set back from the road in Endfield Road.  The cottage became home for Mrs. Gifford's daughter, Mrs. Crump, who lived there with her husband and three children until 1943.

When the Crump family moved to the Tudor house in Endfield Road in 1943, Mrs. Gifford went to live in the cottage, where she remained until her death in 1970.

Moorside Cottage was inherited by Mrs. Crump and family members.  It was occupied by Mrs. Crump's youngest daughter, Mrs. Prendergast, with her husband and family until 1987, thus keeping the cottage in the family for 60 years.   It became Grade II listed in 1976.

When the cottage was sold at auction in 1987, the sale included an adjoining plot of land behind No. 3 McWilliam Road, which the Prendergast family had bought in 1957.   Since 1987, there have been several attempts by developers to obtain planning permission to build houses within the grounds."

In addition to these notes, we are also very fortunate to have Wendy Prendergast as a member of our group.

Wendy's family have lived in the cottage for a 60 year period of it's history, and her scrapbook, collected over the years, presents a wonderful record of the cottage, throughout most of the 20th Century.

Wendy has very kindly given permission for some of those scrapbook pages to be presented here, and I'm sure you will find the pages below a fascinating record of a very special building.

Sadly, the cottage is currently in a very poor state of repair. As a listed building, we are hopeful that it can be saved, before it deteriorates any further.

Although it is wonderful to find an old cottage, surrounded by all of it's original land, unspoilt by development, it is the very value of that land that makes the future so uncertain.

In theory, as a listed building, it should be protected. In practice, it's very survival may depend upon the value of its garden.......  

This view of the cottage below was taken in 1917, not too long after the original two cottages had been converted into a single dwelling.
We believe the two ladies are the Harding sisters, who owned the property at that time.....

(you can click on the photo to see a higher resolution copy-- use your back button to return here).....
The next image is from the Echo, sometime in the 1920's...
As you can see, the cottage was already considered a rarity  - even 90 years ago. Interesting comment about it being the last thatched cottage in the Borough of Bournemouth. That didn't seem right - what about the 3 in East Howe Lane?....
Except of course that up until 1931, Kinson was still in Poole! So the comment was probably true, at that time!
By 1927 the cottage belonged to Mrs.Gifford  - Wendy Prendergast's grandmother -- so the photos from that time onwards are family photos. 
This one of the lounge fireplace was taken in 1927.
This next view is a little difficult to date......

The window frames appear to be a dark colour  - not something seen in the other photos -  and the thatch appears to be of a different 'vintage' from either the 1917 photo, or the 1950's photo.
So not unreasonable to place it in the 30's or possibly 40's...unless you know different of course?!.....(Wendy doesn't remember the window frames being dark...)
Further investigation suggests it's probably 40's rather than 30's.  In 1939, the chimney of the cottage was struck by lightning, which caused some damage (strangely, it broke the bathroom cistern, for example!) and the chimney required some rebuilding.
This photo suggests it was taken after the chimney was repaired....
The thatch itself of course is one of the main features that make the cottage so attractive. But it is not without reason that thatch is rare. It's expensive to maintain - and even more expensive to replace, which needs to be done every 30 years or so.
These next photos show the thatch being replaced in March 1973.  It hasn't been done since, and is, understandably, in a pretty bad way these days.  But with the cost of replacement likely to be in excess of £20,000, it's not difficult to see why there seems to be a reluctance to do it!....
The thatch being replaced on the rear of the roof...
Mrs. Crump and her grandsons, sitting on the piles of thatch, watching progress..
The old thatch, waiting to be burned...
Thatching in progress on the front of the roof..
Inside, the cottage has a charm all of it's own.  The photos below could almost have been taken at any time (with the possible exception of the chairs in the dining room!)  but were in fact taken in the early 1980's.

Absolutely charming, I think you'll agree.   The lounge fireplace doesn't look very different in the photo from 1927 above......
It's difficult to resist photographing such a pretty cottage, so  when the snow came in January 1971,
it was an obvious subject for a winter photo !..
It seems the Echo would come back every few years, with another claim to having 'discovered'
the cottage...this article from 1975....
By the mid 70's, it was already surprising that the cottage hadn't been listed... and this was remedied in 1976.  
Here is a copy of the 'official' document, that should, in theory, protect the cottage for ever....

The oak and yew trees were special enough to have their own tree preservation orders, but the storm of October 1987 was no respecter of documentation, and the oak was damaged beyond repair in that storm, and was felled in due course. 
A great shame, especially as repairs to brace the old tree had only been carried out in 1985.

Only the lovely old yew tree survives today....
The cottage was sold in 1987...
and it would seem, from this planning application for SEVEN dwellings to be erected in the garden, made soon after the sale...
... that this was perhaps an early indicator of the intentions of the new owners, in a modern more 'commercial' world?... 

That application  -- and several others since  -- have all been turned down, although there is a nominal approval for one extra dwelling to be erected.

At the present time, the cottage is survivng in something of an impasse.  The erection of a single extra dwelling is unlikely to make any real financial sense to a modern property developer, and the limited access to the site makes it unlikely that more intensive development would be approved. 
Meanwhile the cottage itself is looking a little sad these days.  The thatch is now nearly 40 years old, and in urgent need of replacement. If this is not done soon, it seems likely that the cob walls themselves will suffer.....

Here are a couple of photos taken in 2012. They are not quite like the photos you've just been looking at.....
It must be difficult in this time of austerity to find the funds to help keep the cottage as it was, but let's hope the cottage can soon be restored to it's earlier glory, before it's too late?

It would be a terrible shame to lose one of Moordown's finest historical 'jewels'......
Meanwhile, to finish,  another look at that lovely summer view from an earlier time.....

Our thanks again to Wendy Prendergast, whose scrapbook most of the above is taken from.
A wonderful record of the 'jewel' in our midst....
Copyright MLHS 2022