Ground Force star puts Great Dunmow cottage on the market

Tommy Walsh, from Ground Force, puts his Dunmow property on the market Tommy Walsh, from Ground Force, puts his Dunmow property on the market

Thursday, January 16, 2014
1:08 PM

Just before the BBC gardening show Ground Force hit our screens, builder Tommy Walsh bought a derelict Victorian cottage in Great Dunmow as his first development project.

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Before Tommy Walsh renovated the cottageBefore Tommy Walsh renovated the cottage

But due to the success of the programme – which also starred Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock – it took him 10 years to transform the Grade II listed building.

Along with the help of his father, Tommy, who designed a garden for Nelson Mandela while on the show, put in the hours whenever he could and rebuilt around 60 per cent of the cottage, in The Close.

He said: “I’d been working as a builder for other people for years but decided to do a renovation project for myself. When the building was initially sold to a developer in the 80s he’d wanted to demolish this part and turn it into parking, so it was in a sorry state.

“I bought it at auction for £29,000 and I was determined to keep its period details and its quality.

The cottage nowThe cottage now

“But then Ground Force came along things were so busy and I remember me and my dad would come here and do little pieces of the renovation whenever we had a spare moment.”

“We probably rebuilt about 60% of the house and when the heritage people came to inspect it they said it was an improvement on the original!”

Tommy and his family had planned to use the cottage - which is the former schoolhouse to the Victorian workhouse designed by architect Sir George Gilbert Scott – as a weekend home but due to other commitments he has rented it out.

However, the three-bedroom property is now on the market for £299,950 with Mullucks Wells estate agents. They can be contacted on 01371 872117.

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