The Squatter Cottage
On Woodlands Lane stands a so-called "Squatter Cottage" built in 1797. This is the only complete example of a once important building type in the area. Its setting is also unique.
In April 1797, Robert Bayley paid a 6d fine to the Earl of Craven for a cottage on a small triangle of wasteland between the Shropshire Union Canal and Woodlands Lane, just above Stocking Bridge. The site was known as Beggarly Bank. Many of the later occupants of the cottage were colliers, miners or labourers.
It was owned by the tile maker William Taylor in the 1850s who may have installed some of the tiled features.
Squatter cottages were built on unregulated wasteland, by individuals who paid an annual fine at the Manorial court. Such communities housed a substantial part of the working population of the Coalbrookdale Coalfield during the Industrial Revolution.
Until the early 1970s, a squatter community survived along Holywell Lane nearby, although the houses have since been demolished or modernised. A single squatter cottage from Burroughs Bank has been re-erected at the Blists Hill Museum.
The Woodlands Lane cottage is unusual in the Telford area because it has not been modernised. Few changes have taken place to the building since the 1850s.
The Cottage today
At present the Cottage remains derelict and has been secured with perimeter fencing for safety. It is hoped that in time and new use can be identified (it is not suitable for refurbishment as housing) and funds found for remedial and conversion work.