History of Low House Haven

Low House was built in 1600 as an inn, which was unusual as in those days inns were normally a front room in someone’s house! Over the years it was altered and divided and had a few different uses, including being three houses, and at one time, a greengrocer who sold everything from fruit to shoelaces. It also served for a short time as a morgue.

When the mine collapsed the deceased miners were brought here to be laid out until their relatives could identify them.

Finally it became The Fellside Moorland Café, before becoming the home of a liberal MP, with its upstairs reading room, in the early 1930s.

In 1933 it was purchased by the youth hostel association and the diamond jubilee was celebrated in 1993. It is one of the oldest hostels in the country.

The lounge has exposed beams, a stone flagged floor and an open fire; and the original fireplaces still exist in two of the bedrooms. The building has three staircases perhaps the result of its varied uses, and a cellar. The round table in the lounge was a rent table - the center section could be removed and the landlords’ agent sat in the center of the circle formed by the other four segments.

While children from Chernobyl were staying in the early 1990s, the hostel was also visited by the then Bishop of Durham, The Rt. Revd David Jenkins.

The hostel is reputedly haunted by one of the former landlords, Bill. One or two of the wardens and visitors have reported strange occurrences such as noises, footsteps upstairs and windows banging. And coins regularly appeared in the petty cash tin! The landlord is supposedly waiting for his wife who became lost and died in the snow on her way home from Muggleswick.

In the early 1990s the Hostel was threatened with closure and Ann Penny, the last full time warden, organised a campaign to keep it open. In the last few years it has had much renovation work done and the accommodation has been upgraded.