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Modest Designs

In the summer of 2006 I was driving through the countryside when I came upon what I thought was a pumping station. I have long had an interest in old buildings and as a fan of Grand Designs have often wondered what sort of home some old buildings would make.

This one seemed to be in the process of reconstruction so out of curiosity I stopped and wandered on to the site, without permission, late on a Saturday morning. I had got as far as the garden when a male figure in a towel appeared behind the french windows and I said hello and smiled.

"Was this a pumping station?" I asked. "No", came the reply, "it was a telephone exchange".

The property has been on sale since June 2007, click photograph for agents.

Click for location

Built in the 1950s these attractive modest buildings had been built to provide amplifying stations for weak telephone signals as they crossed the country. With the march of technology the buildings have become redundant which is why they are now appearing for sale at auction houses such as Allsop and Savills from Telereal who bought the BT property portfolio in 2001. Call 0121 230 4361 for exchange disposals

This discovery made me wonder if there were any more of these available elsewhere in the country that might be converted into a home, and so I started looking. I found two by accident at Barton Mills and Tadlow, then later on Fenstanton via the Allsop website.