Holy Austin Rock Houses, Kinver  
The caves at Kinver have been occupied for many hundreds of years. However, the Victorian Houses that had been built on the rock face were declared unsafe and finally demolished in the 1960s. Under an imaginative scheme, funded by the National Trust, one of these former dwellings has now been recreated. The rock face forms the back wall of the house and the utility room is, in fact, set within a cave.
Furthermore, the stairwell to the first floor has been carved out of the rock formation.The front of the building is totally new and has been painstakingly reconstructed to follow the Victorian design of this unusual house. Photographs, postcards and a wealth of local knowledge were used by the architect in producing the drawings.
The project required the careful selection of reclaimed stone and brick, combined with purpose made windows and doors to recreate the 19th Century façade. Internally, structural pinning works were carried out, to consolidate the rockface, followed by proprietary treatments to hold back the inherent damp in the cave walls. Joinery, plaster work and paint finishes were then applied to the walls abutting the rugged face of the cave to form unique living spaces. Quarry tiles were laid in the kitchen and hall, whilst polished pine boards were used on the first floor.
Rock anchors were also used in the other caves in the immediate area, to consolidate the stone faces of some of the earlier cave dwellings. The opportunity to live in a cave is not one that comes to all of us, but the resulting home is one of interest and contrasts.
Architect: John Greaves-Smith
 
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