In its past the yard has been used literally as a coalyard, a boatshed and a bus depot, when a relative tried to compete with the Hants and Dorset bus company! When we moved into Shore Road in November 1991 it was being used as a car park by local residents, due to the lack of parking spaces in the road. We were even told where we could park.

At this stage, there was a corrugated clad extension to the main building. There was a carport in front of the office building, a bicycle shed beyond that and a shed for smoking fish in the corner which we now, rather glamorously, call the ‘Upper Terrace’. The whole area was covered in the detritus of past fishermen from nets to sails to oars to bits of boats and other unidentified paraphernalia.

The restoration began in 2002 with this author starting the process and nearly breaking his neck while dismantling the cladding. We took our time and the site was gradually excavated, taking care to recycle as much as possible. All of the wood in the new pergola came from either the uprights of the corrugated clad extension or the roof of the main building. However, much of the wood was rotten and had to be dumped.

When completed we had created an office building, that serves our core business, and two remarkable dwellings. One of these is permanently lived in by my parents-in-law while the other we let out as a short break, self-catering holiday let all year round. It enjoys a 95% occupancy rate.

We are pleased with what we have achieved and are particularly grateful to the craftsman who helped us and to the Conservation Officer at Fareham Borough Council, who insisted we keep the line of the roof and not interrupt it with dormer windows as we originally favoured. We also tried to maintain an industrial feel to the building as a whole, a reference to its past history. Our efforts were rewarded when we received ‘Design Awards Restoration - Joint Winner’ in 2006 from the Fareham Society.

We are particularly pleased with the decision to reverse the normal layout of a domestic property and put the bedrooms downstairs and the living area upstairs. This has enabled us to make the best possible use of the dramatic space created by a building built 100 years ago this year!

Mark Ruff
March 2007


1906 - Original structure built as a coalyard

1930 - Site used as a boatyard

1950 - Relative uses yard as a bus depot

1960 - Yard used as a car park by local residents

2003 - Main building restored and now used as a holiday let

© Ruffs 2014