We fell in love with our house for its views of Hucklow Edge and rural White Peak (limestone) scenery, and also because almost all its rooms are on a 12 feet by 12 feet footprint (i.e. big hall and bathroom). We have wooden beams in the ceilings downstairs, and a cellar that used to be the water tank before mains water came to the village. This is now a useful wine cellar.
Our house is very old in parts and we can only speculate about its interesting history. It is possible that it originated as a "Derbyshire longhouse", typified by being very long but only one room deep, the building as a whole being at right angles to the road.
The oldest date we have is 1729, carved into the gritstone fireplace in the winter snug. We had to replace the degenerated lime plaster in part of this room, and found evidence that the front door and interior corridor were once on the other side of the house from at present, i.e. facing the lane through the village.
In Victorian times, our house seems to have been 4 - 6 cottages. In the first half of the twentieth century it was known as Newby Stores, and sold haberdashery as well as general provisions. There is a well-known picture of the shop, probably from around 1920-1940, showing a row of ladies' underware in the window (see right). Some of the older residents remember Newby Stores as a place for buying sweets with their pocket money. After the Second World War, the house was a cafe and infamously, the Copenhagen Restaurant ("bunny girls!") before coming into private ownership around 1980. We bought it in 2002.
An old house needs on-going maintenance and in 2014, we had the old windows with failed double glazing replaced with hardwood double glazing to modern standards. The house is now much warmer! We also had the outside of the house painted so that the window surrounds are a sandstone colour, matching the sandstone slabs from long ago around some of the windows. We are replacing the kitchen in 2016, owing to a number of minor issues.
Windmill Cottage 2014. New windows and sandstone coloured paint around the windows. See below for old livery.
The 'knickers' photo: Windmill Cottage as Newby Stores, around 1920 - 1940.
Windmill Cottage in snow, January 2010
Web page maintained by Gillian Beer. Last updated 15 November, 2015 .