Page last updated at 10:38 GMT, Monday, 26 May 2008 11:38 UK

Ferry hut turns into tiny museum

A former ferryman's hut has been turned into what is believed to be one of the UK's smallest museums.

The 9ft by 7ft beach hut at Alnmouth in Northumberland is no bigger than a garden shed but has been converted into a mini-museum complete with exhibits.

Chairman of Alnmouth Parish Council Judi Hill, 62, said the century-old hut had begun to fall into disrepair before she took over the tenancy.

The last ferryman, John Brown, retired in the 1960s.

Ms Hill restored the hut using a Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership grant.

She said: "The hut was used by the ferrymen who were given permission by the Duke of Northumberland to row people across the River Aln estuary for a fee.

'Clean up'

"It had begun to look a bit derelict and I was worried it would become an eyesore and then be gone.

"So I gave it a clean up, a builder came in to repair the walls and roof, and we gathered together as many photographs of the hut and its history as we could which are displayed inside.

"There's barely room inside to swing a cat so we think it is perhaps the smallest museum in the country."

Over the years the building has been rented out for storage by Northumberland Estates. The last ferryman, Mr Brown, had worked as a miner and a fisherman and his rowing boat carried up to six adults.

Prices were based on tidal conditions. At high tide, when the estuary was at its widest, the charge was threepence.

When the tide went out the fee dropped by a penny.


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