Our History

Circa 1700

Tam O’Shanter Cottage was built around 300 years ago by a heath squatter.


Occupier and master stonemason Richard Lea decorated his cottage with a carved stone slab depicting the Robert Burns poem “Tam O’Shanter”. Thus the cottage became known as Tam O’Shanter Cottage and became a favourite subject for artists and visitors alike.


The Minister of Town & Country Planning graded the building as one of special interest but sadly most of the building was destroyed by fire in 1954. The Council considered demolishing it, but it was saved by public protest. The carved stone set in the gable of the outhouse was not damaged.


The property was advertised for sale and considerable interest was shown. It was again destroyed by fire in 1975, and was subsequently vandalised. The council then decided to demolish the building completely. The Birkenhead History Society stepped in to try and save the building and were given 30 days to submit their suggestions.


The Birkenhead History Society won permission from Wirral Borough Council for the cottage to be rebuilt and restored to its former glory. Rather than return the cottage to residential use the Society felt that the townspeople would be better served by having a field study centre which could be used by local school children.


A historic package containing a copy of “News”, “Times” and some coins, a history of Birkenhead and in particular the restoration project was laid behind stones at the Cottage by the Mayor of Wirral, Councillor John Evans and his wife the Mayoress. The cottage was open for schools from May 1977.


A voluntary organisation called the Wirral Urban Farm Association together with the Tam O’Shanter Cottage Trust began to develop the 4 acres around the cottage as a city farm. The construction of farm buildings, paths and fencing was soon followed by a collection of farm animals.


The Tam O’Shanter Cottage Urban Farm Trust continues to manage the farm with its objectives to promote the preservation of the cottage as a field centre and education facility alongside providing and maintaining facilities for the social welfare, recreation and leisure time of the local community. Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm is maintained by the trust through grants, donations, fund-raising events, sales income and the generous support of many volunteers.

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Boundary Road, Bidston Hill, Wirral, CH43 7PD

0151 653 9332

This website was kindly sponsored by
the little swimmers from Puddle Ducks
Chester, Wirral and North Wales Swim School

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