William Titley


Projects:Tidal Properties Ltd





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Tidal Properties:

A brief history of the lost hamlet of Waterside: Once upon a time, the whole harbour swayed to the rhythm of ever-changing tides, as local fisherman and their families danced to the vibration of the sea. Woven into and around the harbour were the homes of hundreds of sea-bearing folk and their families: the village of Waterside. The hamlet was at the heart of the local economy and reputed to be one of the Northwest’s most productive fishing villages.

house in walls

Slum Clearance Act 1936: However, as the industry faltered (due to environmental pollution and over fishing) so too did the quality of life for many members of the community. After fifty years of social deprivation, Waterside became ‘No 6’ on the local governments’ demolition list and was entombed behind thick sheets of concrete, displacing over 100 fishermen and the families.

pub in walls

Architectural concept:
Building family homes into the walls of the harbour was the brainchild of award winning architect and engineer Albert Gunn (1837 – 1904). The radical thinking environmentalist proposed that ‘close integration of everyday life with the rhythm of the tides would allow the community to live, work and play under the direct influence of the sea’. (‘A. Gunn’. Clyde Press, 1934, p147)

They would work a ‘tidal’ shift system whereby one half of the community would be on the harbour working the boats, nets etc and the other half would be inside their homes, getting much needed rest, waiting for the receding tide before heading out to work.

The authorities agreed that it would be very productive, linking directly with the coming and going of the tides, offering the community more domestic leisure time indoors with their families. Once the tide came in,  you couldn’t get out of your home until the tide dropped below doorstep level.

Stories about how the tides affected their daily lives include how the term ‘batten down the hatches’ was originally used to describe a wife’s attempts to keep her husband busy until the tide was above doorstep level: he was then forced to spend time indoors instead of the local tavern.


Unique homes:
The original construction of the homes included the very first waterproof door and window sealing units: a contributing factor to the successful preservation of the dwellings and will help smooth the regeneration process currently being undertaken by prestigious development company Tidal Properties Ltd.

The refurbishment of the recently uncovered properties involves the conservation of many of the original features; including the antique waterproofing systems and ancient dehumidifiers built into every room. These features are among some of the oldest examples found anywhere in the world and are to be preserved wherever possible.

homes in walls

For further information, please go here.