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1898: Ugly house, poorly furnished to let

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

The Ugly House in Snowdonia

Candid Advertising

To Let. August and September, Willies, near Cuckfield, Sussex; ugly house, lovely surroundings; poorly furnished; nominal rent; private tutor's house; three tennis courts, cricket ground, etc., good kitchen garden; water and sanitation faultess; high, bracing; 6gns. a week inclusive; billiard-room and piano, horses and farm produce, a small extra charge if required. Address, P.P.L., Cuckfield.

[Ed: I am sure 124 years on, the house, which I am advised still exists, is now delightful and full of character]

In the 1901 census, the head of house, Percy Lascelles, was a private tutor. Also in the household are a Governess and 2 Assistant Tutors. 16 students (it was a boys school), and a Matron for the pupils.

This ad reminds me of the late (died 1971) Roy Brooks ads in the 1960s. He was an estate agent in Kings Road who became both famous and wealthy for his brutally honest and amusing ads. Here is one of his:

'Do not be misled by the trim exterior of this modest period res' with its dirty broken windows; all is not well with the inside. The decor of the nine rooms, some of which hangs inelegantly from the walls, is revolting. Not entirely devoid of plumbing, there is a pathetic kitchen and one cold tap. No bathroom, of course, but Chelsea has excellent public baths. Rain sadly drips through the ceiling on to the oil cloth. The pock-marked basement floor indicates a thriving community of woodworm, otherwise there is not much wrong with the property… Sacrifice 6,750.'

Legislation such as the Property Misdescriptions Act would rule out such outlandish frankness today, perhaps that's a shame.

Source: Launceston Examiner (Tasmania), 3 Sep 1898, P8.

Other information relating to the house

Photo: The Ugly House The headquarters of the Snowdonia Society is at the famous Ugly House (Ty Hyll). A famous landmark on the A5 between Betws-y-Coed and Capel Curig, as you cross the Afon Llugwy.

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.



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