Oast Houses

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright April 2009, Oast House Archive; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


❖ Converted oast houses

Over 85% of oast houses have now been converted to dwellings, usually houses, but sometimes flats.
TQ7040 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ9136 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TR0461 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ7269 : The Oast Houses, Rede Court Road, Rochester, Kent by Oast House Archive

…lots of which are also B&B's and holidays lets.
TQ7534 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ7951 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ7846 : Sanders Oast, Chart Hill Road, Cross-At-Hand, Kent by Oast House Archive TR2057 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

One of the first known conversions was at Millar's Farm near Meopham in 1903.
TQ6361 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Other oast houses have been converted to…

Farm shops
TR0347 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Offices
TQ7038 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ8150 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6345 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Theatres
TQ5847 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ8165 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Community centres
TQ8166 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Visitors centres
TQ4949 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Gift shops
TQ6723 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Schools
TQ7354 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TR1153 : Canterbury Steiner School by O O'Brien

Health centres
TQ7454 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Youth hostels
TQ7865 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Student Accommodation
TR1557 : Maltings, Outen Hill Place, Canterbury, Kent by Oast House Archive

Cafés, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants
TQ6747 : Brookers Oast, Beltring, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ9950 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

a Christian Retreat
TQ8123 : The Oast Houses, Tufton Place, Ewhurst Lane, Northiam by Oast House Archive

Kebab shop
TQ6069 : Converted Oast House into shops by David Anstiss

An increasingly small proportion of disused oast houses are left unconverted.
TQ7150 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ5337 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ5853 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ7446 : Oast House by Oast House Archive
or in ruins
TQ4940 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ8115 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6467 : Derelict Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6749 : Oast House by Oast House Archive
See a Geograph Map of unconverted oast houses and Shared description.

There are a number of publicly visitable oast house museums.
TQ7742 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6747 : Oast Houses by Oast House Archive TQ7458 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TR0644 : Oast House by Oast House Archive
TQ8038 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6723 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ4949 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

❖ Preservation


After the decline of the hop industry, many hundreds of oast houses were demolished. Particularly after the 2nd world war, numerous buildings were demolished to make way for new farm buildings, housing estates, or returned the land to farmland.

The occasional oast house is still being demolished, but most are now valuable assets.

Over 500 Oast Houses are Listed buildings. See more listed oasts
SU8135 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ5754 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TR0957 : Denstead Oast, Denstead Lane, Chartham by Oast House Archive TQ7953 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TR2258 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Yonsea Farm was saved from the path of the Channel Tunnel railway link near Hothfield, and completely moved to the Rare Breeds Centre.
TQ9534 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

The tiles and timbers of an oast house at the Bewl Water Reservoir site were taken to Montreal, Canada, where an oast house was reconstructed.

Burgess Hill Farm Oast was removed to make way for the A21 dualling.
TQ6044 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Lack of maintenance is common on disused buildings, as demonstrated by this collapsed kiln roof near Brenchley.
TQ6740 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Many traditional materials and features are changed during the conversion period, such as large domestic windows, chimney stacks, porches, white painted weatherboard (rather than black stain), tile hung walls, and painted walls.
TQ8141 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

It is important that oast houses are converted sensitively to maintain their character and avoid unattractive additions…
TQ6950 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Other modifications;

Some unusual windows
TQ6361 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6128 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

Cowl replacements
TQ9127 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6723 : Oast House, Batemans, Batemans Lane, Burwash by Oast House Archive

❖ Archive

Unlike castles, windmills, pillboxes and other distinct buildings, there are no other public lists or photo-archives of oast houses.
With around 2500 separate oast houses photographed, Geograph has the largest public online photographic record of oast houses.

❖ Popular Oast Houses

Some of the most photographed oast houses on Geograph and the rest of the internet…

TQ8038 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ6747 : Oast Houses by Oast House Archive TQ7458 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ7038 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ8125 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

…and most featured on postcards and calendars

TQ5045 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ5045 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ5246 : Oast House by Oast House Archive TQ5758 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

❖ Fake Oast Houses

Some 'fake' or 'mock' oasts have been allowed to be built. Some are easily spotted as they are out of proportion to a normal oast house, built at a much larger scale than the originals. Many of these have been built since the 1980's when oast houses were becoming more sort after and desirable residences. They are typically in areas were the local area has little or no architectural merit.

TQ8652 : Mock Oast House at Tenacre Court, Ashford Road, Harrietsham, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ7256 : The Barn, Hermitage Court, Hermitage Lane, Maidstone, Kent by Oast House Archive TQ8223 : Fake Oast Kiln by Oast House Archive TQ7856 : Fake Oast House Pub by Oast House Archive TQ6141 : Hotel by Oast House Archive TQ4762 : The Oast House, Pratt's Bottom by David Anstiss SK3533 : The Oast House pub, Sinfin Lane by JThomas

SO5968 : Toilets, Market Street by Bob Embleton These toilets were opened in 2010 in the style of two oast house kilns, at about half size.

See more fake oast houses

❖ Village signs

Many village signs in hop growing areas adorn an oast house.

TR1460 : Village sign by Oast House Archive TR2057 : Village sign by Oast House Archive TQ8748 : Village sign by Oast House Archive TR1258 : Village sign by Oast House Archive TQ7822 : Village sign by Oast House Archive TQ6331 : Village sign by Oast House Archive TQ9239 : Village sign by Oast House Archive

See more village signs

❖ As seen on TV

TQ9141 : Oast House by Oast House Archive
Darling Buds of MayExternal link (1991-1993).
Buss Farm was the main filming location for the tv series, where it was known as 'Home Farm'. In one episode the oast is re-tiled.


❖ Trivia

The most common names are Manor Farm Oast and Park Farm Oast.

An oast house was only used for drying for one month each year. The rest of the year it would be used as a store for other farm produce, animal feed, farm implements or whatever else the farmer might need to store.

In 2004, as an alternate way to sell an oast house at Chilham, it was put up as a raffle prize. BBC linkExternal link.
TR0755 : Oast House by Oast House Archive

In 2007, the Daily Mail newspaper gave away an oast house, valued at £400,000, in a competition.

According to an article in The Illustrated London News in 1886, an oast house at Sharsted Court in Newnham is believed to have been used for drying tobacco. The tobacco was grown adjacent to the hops.

❖ Further reading

Books
"Kentish Oasts" by R. and I. Walton
"Oasthouses in Sussex and Kent" by Gwen Jones and John Bell
"Beltring Hop Farm" by Robin Walton
"The Oasthouses, Their Life & Times" by Alan Major

Webpages
WikipediaExternal link
Images Of EnglandExternal link
Geograph: Oast Houses (snippet)
Geograph: The Hop Farm
Geograph: Hopper Huts (snippet)
Geograph: Hops & Hop Fields (snippet)
Geograph: Maltings (tags)
Oast and Hop Kiln HistoryExternal link

KML

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