DOOR IS LOCKED AT CONDEMNED COTTAGE WHICH LIVED ON
TWELVE years ago, council officials said Jim Cussons’ cottage ought to be pulled down because it was not fit to live in.
The cottage, at the rear of St Clement’s Church, was very damp. It had a stone sink, no hot water, no electricity, a crumbling roof, and a toilet out in the back garden.
But to Jim and his wife it was home and they didn’t want to move. So they asked to stay —and the sympathetic officials granted their request.
In 1964 the church-owned cottage was condemned and a demolition order was made. Arrangements were made to rehouse the Cussons—but again Jim asked if he could spend the last years of his life in the cottage. And again the public health people agreed.
The council said they would not follow up the demolition order while the couple wanted to stay.
Jim died in January of this year and on Monday his widow, Mrs Doris Cussons, locked the back door of the cottage for the last time and moved into one of the comfortable and modern flatlets in Barratt Court.
But it was not without some regrets.
Standing beneath the gas mantel suspended from the low ceiling, in the cottage living room, Mrs Cussons explained: “I have lived here for 38 years —that’s half a lifetime. Our children grew up here and I shall miss the old place.
“My new flat is lovely, and there will be plenty of company there. I would have liked to have stayed here, though, but I am 70 now and it is hard for me to keep this place clean.
Not that I have minded, I was brought up to work hard but nowadays I don’t want all that work. I can’t get out into the garden and Jim used to keep it so nice.
“Then there are the boys around here. They know I am living on my own and they come and play me up. They knock on the door, throw stones at the windows, and take things from the garden. I have been on to the police, but they can’t do anything about it.
“One of the bedroom ceilings is starting to come down and there are birds under the roof. The dampness is awful. I went away for a fortnight at Christmas and when I came back I couldn’t live here because of it. I had to have the place aired before I moved in again.
“Things will be much better in my new flat,” Mrs Cussons said she didn’t know when the cottage was built, but it was “very, very old.”
When she and her husband moved in, the place had been empty for some time.
The last occupants were Mr Joe Dunn, a sexton at the church, and his wife, Maria.
The late Canon Arthur Morris arranged for Jim and Doris to move into the cottage, and he was also instrumental in asking the council to allow them to stay on there.
Source: Skegness Standard 1969
Doris Cussons inside the White Cottage: