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Mystery of tiny house found in middle of two alleyways opens up flurry of debate

People have been guessing for many years about the origins of the strange looking property and now thanks to the power of social media plenty of ideas have been put forward

Many suggestions have been put forward about the origins of the unusual building

A small, odd looking building between two alleyways on a street have left people guessing for years about its origin and now thanks to the power of social media, several theories have been put forward.

The house is towered over by nearby properties and with just a front door and small window visible at the front of the house, it seems only big enough to house a single room.

The property, 64 Westbourne Road, in Birkenhead has a pitched roof and red brick exterior and appears to offer a glimpse back in time to another era, reported the Liverpool Echo.

Over the years it has attracted plenty of interest from residents keen to find out its origins.

Last year, the Liverpool Echo reported the debate started in a Facebook group after a resident posted a picture of the property, stating: “Just driven past this house – there must be a story to this one?!”



Some people have recalled the building being used by a taxi firm
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Image:

Liverpool Echo)




Other members of the group put forward suggestions as to what the house may have been in the past – with one suggesting it could have been a gatehouse for one of the larger properties along the street.

Another said they thought it might have been an old outhouse, although the structure doesn’t lend itself to that theory.

Further suggestions have since been put forward by local residents who remember the building being used in the past.

Sebastian Cowden said: “It used to be some kind of motor mechanics or garage.

“When I was a lad in the late 70s and early 80s, back in the day and before these new-fangled changes came in, you could walk through that alleyway from Grange Mount to Westbourne Road, and there were always cars being serviced at the back.

“Someone said it was specifically for taxis, but I don’t recall that.”





Caroline Henderson also mentioned taxis, saying: “I thought it was the taxi office but could be wrong. Definitely not a house.”

Wendy Gooley suggested the building may have been an old kiosk, with Alex McGettigan posting that it may have once been used by a coal merchants.

Other readers went above and beyond in their search for answers to the question, consulting old Ordinance Survey maps to see when the property first appeared.

Mark Laycock said: “The 1888-1913 OS map doesn’t clarify any part of the situation either. If anything, it brings more questions to the matter.”

Robert Clements replied with an answer that narrows down the dates slightly, saying: “But it is on the 1892-1914 map.”

Tony Probbing said: “Plans from 1840 [show] there used to be a small private park behind the houses on Grange mount and this building was there. Possibly a gate house for the park.”





This theory found favour with other readers, with Robert Clements replying to say: “Yes, I think it has been like game keeper lodge for the house and later the park.”

Sharon Hearn said: “I think it was a gatehouse.”

The building’s unusual appearance gave rise to another theory, put forward by Jacob Butler, who suggested it could have historically been a “spite house” – a building constructed to irritate neighbours or anyone who may have land stakes.

Because they are not intended to be lived in, spite houses can often have unusual shapes.

The answer could actually be far simpler, however, with one local resident, Claire Street saying: “I use to live next door – it’s a dump. It’s just got a toilet and a tiny room, you can’t even swing a cat in.

“It’s full of taxi parts and other rubbish and there’s a garage at the back. It’s falling apart inside, just used as a taxi rank and dumping ground.”



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