Colditz comes to Shropshire

Shropshire cottage with a most unusual secret for sale for just shy of £200,000


From the outside 30 Railway Street in Bridgnorth, Shropshire looks like an ordinary red brick terraced house. In reality – rather like the Austrian home where Josef Fritzl held his relatives captive for 24 years – it hides a secret and that secret is a network of rooms carved into the hillside behind and a near vertical garden that has repeatedly been mistaken for a Roman ruin.


From the outside 30 Railway Street, Bridgnorth, Shropshire, W16 4AT looks like a quite ordinary cottage
But its last owner Antony Dracup patiently spent thousands of hours chiseling away at its rear to create something quite unexpected


The 1,151 square foot house, which is currently for sale through Nock Deighton at a price of £199,950 ($286,000 or €263,000), was bought by an eccentric artist named Antony Dracup (1930 – 2002) in the 1980s and then turned it into what can either be described as an artistic masterpiece or a ridiculous, damp folly.


Dracup decided that a sandstone cave at the rear of the house should be excavated and after reversing the internal layout of the existing building, he spent years chiseling away – in what his son terms “true Colditz style”. In doing so, he added around 650 square foot of accommodation to the tiny cottage as well as a great deal of character. He did so by mixing the sand and stone that resulted from his excavations with cement and then added gothic-style arches, pillars and stained glass features to complete the look.


The house is entered via a remarkably ordinary sitting room
Behind such, one would not expect to find such a space as this
Antony Dracup spent thousands of hours creating what is known as Dracup’s Cave and he is pictured here working on his “masterpiece” in 1992
He also painted many murals and they remain in the house now; they will not be to the liking of all potential purchasers
There is evidence of damp in the garden room
The garden to the rear is nigh on vertical and features a number of terraces
A floorplan of the much extended ground floor


After his death, the cottage was sold to the current owners, who have kept Dracup’s cave and the rather strange murals that he painted. Of the property, Andrew Ainge, sales manager at Nock Deighton, commented:


“It is really interesting to have a vaulted cave at the back of the property”.


“Lots of houses in Bridgnorth have caves at the back but I’ve not seen a house like this before – it is truly remarkable the length some people will go to”.


“I think it will appeal to people who like to have a bit of character in their home. If you want to host dinner parties and entertain people it is perfect”.



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    1. Even I knew- before Google – that due to its funicular railway and similarity to Bavaria, Hitler was keen to make Bridgenorth his Head Quarters had he won the day; so this would have been really handy for he and his cronies

      Hitler would have found it handy for nearby Shelsley Walsh, where Hans von Stuck held FTD at in 1930, but there might have been a problem over Hitler being blackballed by Sir William Lyons and Lofty England for membership of the Midlands Auto Club

    2. What splendour, a real estates gem. A eccentric man’s dream, it reminds me of the perfect setting for a Edgar Allan Poe story line. A man’s wife is having an affair with another man, they plot to kill the woman’s husband for the insurance money. They miscalculate the drug overdose that is meant to kill the husband. The drug is not potent enough to kill him off, they bury him alive in cheap wooden box, assuming the drug will eventually do its job. The husband manages to unbury himself and escape. The fury of a man that is buried alive must not be underestimated he could seriously hurt you. How many dead bodies have been buried between the walls of that house during the years? I would demand a reduction in price, Matthew, It can become bloody spooky when the lights go out at night. The success of Ghostbusters are not proven and thus not guaranteed.


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