Little Yellow Cottage – Update 19

A Bit of Background

Two hundred and fifty years ago when I was being built and Captain Cook was training to be a navigator over in the harbour and off the Whitby coast there was a limited number of mainly natural materials that would be used for my construction. Wood, bricks, stone, lime-based mortar, slate, glass and small amounts of metal for handmade nails, hinges and snecks were about all you’d find in a cottage. No plastic, MDF, concrete (reinforced or otherwise), copper pipes, electric wires or mineral oil-based products. However, contemporary materials were introduced over the years and what I am now is an amalgam of all those things added as tradesmen and, sadly, non-tradesmen, used what was available at the time.

A New Chippy

In this case we’re talking about a joiner!

About the same time that George was conducting the review of work done and creating a snagging list a new ‘immigrant’ from Clitheroe, Lancashire was moving into one of my neighbouring cottages with a view to permanent residency in Yorkshire and Whitby. George was ribbing him about being from the ‘Dark-Side” and the pair of them hit-it-off immediately. Andy Granger was interested in my renovation and asked lots of questions regarding my story. 

After a couple of visits, he was paying extremely close attention to my front door which is one of the most photographed in Whitby. The old one was just a cheap internal door with some planks nailed on to it; however, it did look good! There were big, ornamental hinges holding the whole thing together and an old, sliding, steel security bar finished it off, although the latter never worked. There were two bulls-eye windows but they were made from plastic and had suffered from sand abrasion and were also cracked. The bottom of the door was rotten from the pile of rubbish that had accumulated over the years and the bottom hinge was broken. It was a sorry state.

Front Door

George was working in my front room when Andy declared that he would dearly love to make a new front door. George’s response was that it had to be identical to the old one but made from proper materials that would have been used when I was built and the artefacts would need to be renovated too and used on the new door. Andy responded with a list of his projects that he’d completed all of which were bespoke and required the skills of a proper craftsman.

So… three weeks later Andy presents me with a new door hand-made from solid wood with two bulls-eye windows also hand-made but substituting the plastic with glass. He’s also replaced other elements with new (old) hinges and a new (old) door lock with a huge key that actually works!  All of this was acquired from a demolition project and he’s cleaned everything ready for paint or varnish. Once the artefacts were cleaned and replaced the door looks identical to my old one but feels like my first one, it also looks excellent. It still needs a top coat of paint and the colour is yet to be decided but the primer/undercoat is doing a sterling job in the meantime. There is still a door kick to go on hence the gap at the bottom.

Bathroom Door

The door to the bathroom was too-far gone to repair so Andy took some of the old 10-inch floorboards that were rescued from the good ends of the badly rotted first floor bedroom. George held on to them on the principle that they might “come in” although, at the time he had no idea how! Andy built the new door with a new (old) sneck-latch and new (old) eighteen-inch hinges rescued from an old coal-house. George has painted one side of the new (old) door with white paint to match the bathroom and the other with clear varnish to reveal the historic wear and tear and enhance the grain. 

Bedroom Doors

The doors to front and back bedrooms were badly affected by water from the damaged roof but with more of Andy’s magic they’re repaired rather than replaced using as much of the old wood as possible. There was a necessity to repair parts of them and this was done using some of my old, beautifully aged and character filled floorboards that were unaffected by the water damage. He needed to plane them so that they were the same thickness, or rather, thinness, to match the original planks of the old doors. The result is two wonderfully historic doors that include the damage sustained over the centuries complete with new (old) latches and hinges that we rescued from my other doors and hatches. There are holes and dark marks where old hinges were mounted together with holes for old snecks no longer required. The holes remain unfilled with fake-wood to maintain my story and I have plenty of tales that I’m revealing in stages so that George can draw them together in these words.

Bathroom Walls

The floors that needed to be replaced are reclaimed wood planed and relayed with care. They have been painted with four coats of varnish and the effect is fabulous. There is still some skirting to go in and the new boiler, tank and some of the pipework is being boxed with various hatches being included to retain access should it be required in the future.

The bathroom walls have been slated by Andy and grouted by George so the it is now useable. Andy’s also been busy boxing in pipework and dealing with a snagging list to finish all the middle floor and we’re nearly there.


The floors that needed to be replaced are reclaimed wood planed and relayed with care. They have been painted with four coats of varnish and the effect is fabulous. There is still some skirting to go in and the new boiler, tank and some of the pipework is being boxed with various hatches being included to retain access should it be required in the future.

George and Andy have been busy slating the living room floor and it looks spectacular. The kitchen floor was going to be vinyl but the living room looks so good that George extended the tiling and completed the kitchen too.  

Coalhouse Under the Stairs

The wood surround under the stairs is now being targeted and will require some work at the bottom of the planks where the access door is mounted. This cupboard was used as a coal house for many years and the damp coal had left a residual cover of black dust on both bricks and wood which took some time to remove so that my structure could be checked. Things look sound though and one of the panels that had been a piece of cheap plywood is now being replaced by solid wood from one of my old doors. The hinges and snecks have been used elsewhere so that the bare planks can have any signs of rot removed and the whole thing trimmed in size to form a new (old) panel.

I’m astonished at the popularity of my web site it’s just gone past 200,000 hits worldwide. Thank you all for such kindness and interest,

Please feel free to share.

To be continued…

PS: George has been sleeping on a mattress in the back room but is now looking for a couple of beds almost certainly 1 x Otterman King size and 1 x Double. If you’re aware of anything in good condition please email or message through the FB page Little Yellow Cottage, it would be much appreciated.

4 thoughts on “Little Yellow Cottage – Update 19”

  1. Please contact me on 07710641864 I am a trustee at a Grade !! listed building in Saltburn and we are looking to replaster a large end internal gable wall.
    I don’t want to use Facebook.

  2. Dear Ickle Yellow Cottage,I love your doors, Dave and Lou kept some of my original doors when I was being spruced up and it made me feel more comfortable knowing some of my history was retained. You will feel much better when your walls resonate with love and laughter when people come to stay with you. Lots of love Fossil Cottage circa 1860 x


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