IN PICTURES: Labour of love for Newport lock house couple

Telford | News | Published:

A labour of love to restore one of Thomas Telford's lock houses has already uncovered hidden treasures.

Terry and Ruth Otter, 64 and 63, are currently spending their time refurbishing the local landmark in Newport, that was originally built by Thomas Telford in 1834.

The couple bought the three-bedroom bungalow on Broomfield Road in 2013, and have been living there while they carry out the work.

The former lock house built by Thomas Telford
The former lock house built by Thomas Telford

The pair say their plan is to restore the house to its original glory.

They have also been granted planning permission by Telford & Wrekin Council to build an outhouse on the site, which officers praised when they submitted the application.

Mr Otter says he and his wife have not set themselves a budget, as they cannot predict how much they will need to spend.

The former lock house built by Thomas Telford


The former lock house built by Thomas Telford

When complete the bungalow will also have solar panels as well as under floor heating.

"We are not thinking about the cost," he said.

"We haven't come up with a budget, we don't get upset if we go over it.


"With a project like this you never know what you might come across.

The original end wall of the house which the couple have rediscovered after it was covered
A cellar the couple found which was bricked up

"We have already discovered a hidden staircase, which the previous owner who lived here for 30-years knew nothing about – even the owner before her didn't know about it.

"It leads to a secret basement, which we are now incorporating into the design and plans."

This bungalow is one of two lock houses built by Thomas Telford in the town – the other is located at Fishers Lock.

The pair have also been working closely with the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust during the project, who are said to be delighted with the work they are carrying out.

Mr Otter added: "The house is right on the canal pathway, and so many people can see it.

"We have had many people asking us what we are doing, which just goes to show how important these lock houses are to the local community.

"After we have finished the work we plan on living in the house, and we keep saying we are becoming honorary lock keepers for people using the canal.

"The canal trust have also been very helpful and we have learnt about the amazing work they have done to get the waterways up and running again in the town.

"They are so pleased that we are bringing the house back to what it was like when it was first built."

At the moment the Otters are currently sleeping in the living room of the bungalow with work still needing to be carried out on the bedrooms.

The house also does not have a bathroom meaning they are having to use their son's house in the town to wash.

"The lock house has three bedrooms," Mr Otter said, "however, we are unable to live in them at the moment.

"We are currently living in the living room.

"We have everything in there, but once the outhouse is built we will then be moving into that while the rest of the house is worked on.

"There isn't even any heating, we are just using the wood burner in the living room.

"And when we need to wash we are going to our son's place in the town."

The couple decided to move to Newport after their two children attended Harper Adams University in Edgmond.

Their children decided to stay in the town, meaning they were now 200 miles apart.

Mr Otter added: "After buying the house and coming here often to visit we decided we may as well move here as it saves us the 200-mile trip.

"We were also ready for a change."

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