This tiny cottage with only two rooms which dates from the 1840s was rescued from a nearby mining district and re-erected on the Blists Hill Museum site. Constructed crudely using local stone and tree trunks for roof timbers, at one time it was occupied by a collier, his wife and seven children.
Traditionally Squatters could settle permanently if they could build their house in a day, and have a fire lit and smoke emitting from the chimney by the end of the day. This key factor determined the manner of building, usually starting with the construction of the hearth and chimney, and then the construction of the house around this focal point. Surrounding land could also be enclosed with the cottage, but was determined exclusively by how far the owner could throw an axe or shovel from the four corners of the house.
In this case it is called a Squatter Cottage not because it was built illegally, or erected within 24 hours, but because it was on the property of the local lord of the manor, to whom the occupants paid an annual “fine” or rent.