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Artist's son visits Bridgnorth to complete restoration of his father's unique cottage

"It is such an honour": The finishing touches have been made to late artist Anthony Dracup's cottage in Bridgnorth by his own son.

Dennis Dracup, spending time painting some of his father's, artist Antony Dracup, old house, at Dracup Cottage, Railway Street, Bridgnorth
Dennis Dracup, spending time painting some of his father's, artist Antony Dracup, old house, at Dracup Cottage, Railway Street, Bridgnorth

Dennis Dracup was contacted by Karolina and Jason Harte to ask for advice when they bought his father's old house on Railway Street, and have been restoring it ready to open to the public for the past two years.

The couple bought the property exactly two years ago in 2019 and have been working hard on restoring the art work inside the house, and updating parts of the building to make it more habitable.

Mr Dracup, who moved into the house in the 80s, spent years carving out a sandstnoe cave at the back of the property and integrating it into the main building.

The eccentric office worker-turned-artist built supporting archways from sand collected from the excavation of the cave, while plastering many of the walls with his own works of art.

Now his son, Dennis, has completed the last finishing touches to the building, and said he is so glad Karolina and Jason wanted to preserve his father's art work and create a 'live-in museum' out of the unique house.

"I haven't been back here for 21 years," he said. "My father moved to Barmouth so I went to visit him there. I feel honoured I am carrying on the techniques of my father – it's in the whole of the building, I was brought up on it.

"It brings joy to my heart because his features and his character have been preserved in this house. I was impressed by how much of my dad was still here."

Dennis Dracup is doing work at his father's old house

Dennis, an artist himself, grew up in west London but would get the train to visit his father in Bridgnorth when he was working on the house.

He has been working off an old photograph to restore the front door after Anthony's wood-like painting had been painted over.

He said: "My father was a solitary chap, he was so courteous – he would only do work between 9am and midday because he didn't want to disturb the neighbours.

Antony Dracup at work in 1991

"The work I am doing on the door now is exactly the work he would have done. It is just such an honour, I can't believe I am here.

"I was half expecting my dad to be here to open the door. I know he is my dad but I am still bowled over my what he did. It's great because Jason and Karolina have applied the same mindset my dad would have, it feels like they're on the same path."

Karolina Harte in the caves built under Dracup Cottage

Karolina and Jason, who live in Glazeley, said the project has been hard work but they wanted to keep as much as possible in the house when they open up as a holiday let in April.

"It has taken two years to get where we are now," Karolina said. "Luckily, we came across Dennis online from the website he runs and got in touch with him to ask some advice about how to preserve the art and things.

"We thought we would be a bit cheeky and ask him to possibly do some bits for us – like the front door which Anthony had originally painted but had been painted over.

Karolina Harte said it was curiosity that drove the couple to purchase the cottage

"Work on the house is pretty much finished, most of the quirky little bits and bobs inside are done. Everywhere visitors look and turn there is some other little discovery to be made."

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