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Saving A Piece Of Cleethorpes History - The Renovation Of 122 Main Road Fitties

House of fitties cleethorpes

This year JMA has been lucky enough to be involved in saving a piece of local history in the form of a chalet on the Humberston Fitties. Over the next few weeks we're going to be letting you guys know how we turned a run-down wooden 'shed' into a high-end family holiday chalet. First though, for those who don't know why the Fitties is special, here's a brief history lesson.


The term "Fitties" means "salt marsh," and the Humberston Fitties is one of several such areas along the Lincolnshire coast. The development of the Humberston Fitties began in the 1920s when the area was divided into various plot sizes, known as "plot lands." During WWI, the coastal region was used to billet soldiers stationed at the nearby Haile Sands Fort. After the war, a local family set up a tent to access fresh air for health reasons, later building a chalet. This spurred others to follow suit, initially using tents and then moving into the original camp huts used by soldiers. More holidaymakers arrived with caravans, buses, and old railway carriages. Chalets were built on stilts or wheels due to the area's flooding tendency.


In 1938, the land ownership transferred to the local authority, preserving the unique area when other plot lands were sold for development. During WWII, the chalets were used again for military purposes, with a decoy Grimsby Docks nearby. Stricter planning laws in 1947 made caravans more popular. The 1953 floods destroyed many chalets, leading to improved sea defenses, though this obstructed sea views. Modern conveniences have been added, and in 1996, the area was declared a conservation area, followed by an Article 4 Direction in 1998 to control development. Over 300 chalet plots exist, with leases enforcing a closed season prohibiting overnight stays in January and February.


With this rich history in mind and also the strict conservation regulations you have to take into account when renovating a building on the Fitties, we knew that we'd have to go above and beyond to ensure the renovation of 122 Main Road Fitties went as smoothly as possible whilst delivering a high class finish that the new owners and building deserved.



Part One - Evaluation of Current Structure


When we first visited 122 Main Road Fitties, the exterior of the building appeared to be in good condition, aside from a slight dip in the roof near the right corner. The walls looked solid, and the windows seemed to be in relatively good shape for its age. There were no obvious signs of structural damage from the outside, which gave us some initial confidence about the state of the property. However, the interior told a different story.


Upon stepping inside, it became immediately apparent that the interior was in dire need of modernisation. The décor seemed to be stuck in a past era, with outdated fittings and fixtures. The bathroom and kitchen, in particular, had seen better days.


Most of the walls in each room were covered with wooden beach-style cladding. While this might have looked attractive when first installed, it now appeared worn and old.


Most noticeable, however, was the sloping floor in the main living area. Walking across this room felt disorienting, almost as if you were on a ship swaying on rough seas. This was more than just a minor unevenness; it was a substantial slope that suggested potential foundational issues.


As we began to pull up carpets and floorboards, the true extent of the challenges ahead became clear. Beneath the surface, we found rotting joists and other suprises which we'll talk about more in the next blog post.


Despite these issues, we remained optimistic. With a clear plan and the right resources, we wanted to transform 122 Main Road Fitties into a beautiful, modern home. The potential was there, but it would take time, effort, and a willingness to tackle the unforeseen obstacles that lay ahead.

rotting floorboard repair

Check out the next blog post on what we found under the floors and how we started saving 122 Main Road Fitties.


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