The Tudor House Museum Building
The Tudor House Museum is based on some of the older structures in Upton. The two cottages, numbers 16 and 18 Church Street, are in the middle of the early settlement, with the Church opposite and the Manor House, originally another timber framed building, a short distance away. By the early nineteenth century they were part of the Ham Court estate.
In the Tithe Map and Apportionment of 1841 there were three dwellings on the site, probably one behind the other on the site of the Museum and the third, now number 18, alongside (property 292). In what is now the garden there were a number of outbuildings, two behind the two cottages, one where the greenhouse now is and another across the yard with another yard behind it before the boundary wall. The principal occupant was Robert Johnson, a cordwainer (in the 1837 trade directory he is described as a boot and shoemaker). He continued to trade from there until at least 1856. The 1841 census suggests that amongst the other inhabitants of the cottages were a laundress and a plumber.
In the second half of the nineteenth century great changes were made. The two cottages which are now the museum were made into one, the one behind being considerably reduced in size, and behind them a malthouse was built. In the sale documents for the Ham Court Estate in 1914 Numbers 16 and 18 (Cottages E & F) are described with their outbuilding. They were sold to Mr A. Fowler before the October auction. He and Mrs Fowler wrote one of the earliest guides to Upton which is available in the Museum. . Mr Fowler died in March 1921: Mrs Fowler inherited his assets. When Mrs Fowler died in January 1955. She left her property to Mrs Campbell of Welland. Both continued to be let, but they were in a deteriorating condition and, in 1972, the Rural District Council ordered that they should not be inhabited. They were listed buildings, so demolition was out of the question.
In Recent Years
In 1977 Mrs Jennie Meller purchased both houses for £10,900 and set about planning the conversion of No.16 into a restaurant. Major changes were made. New staircases were put in, the malthouse was incorporated into the cottage in front of it.
The cellar below the cottage was filled in. The door in the front of No.16 was removed, ground floor windows were made larger and a window on the second floor was put back where it had been a century earlier. The door in the front of No. 18 was removed and replaced by a side entrance. This then was the building which was purchased by Lavender Beard in 1993 and converted into The Tudor House Museum.