Model village to rear of The Old New Inn


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
The Old New Inn, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham, GL54 2AF


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Statutory Address:
The Old New Inn, Bourton-on-the-Water, Cheltenham, GL54 2AF

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cotswold (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


A model of the centre of Bourton on the Water village, built to 1:9 scale, dating from 1936-40.

Reasons for Designation

The model village of the centre of Bourton on the Water, constructed in 1936-40, is listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons: * Relative date: it is one of the very earliest miniature villages to be constructed in England, probably the only earlier example being Bekonscot in Buckinghamshire, which was begun in 1929, but not completed until the late C20; * Architectural interest: the model village faithfully reproduces the C17, C18 and C19 Cotswold vernacular buildings of the village of Bourton on the Water, at a precise 1:9 scale, as they appeared in 1936, their layout accurately reflecting that of the 'real' village; * Design interest: the buildings are constructed using authentic materials: locally-quarried limestone for walls, and miniature Cotswold stone slates for roof coverings; * Quality of craftsmanship: the model village was constructed by builders rather than model makers, and this is reflected in the high quality of the structures, including details such as the traceried windows of the churches, the dry-stone boundary walls built in miniature and the vernacular details of the buildings; * Lack of later alteration: with the exception of updating the shop signs and windows as the full-size buildings on which they were modelled have undergone changes, the buildings are unaltered since the model was completed in 1940; * Historic interest: the model village was the first tourist attraction to be constructed in the village, which has become well-known as one of the principal tourist destinations in the Cotswolds; * Group Value: with the Grade II listed New Inn and with the buildings it represents, many of which are also listed.


Bourton on the Water began to attract visitors in the late C19; its qualities as a typical Cotswold village, with buildings of the C17, C18 and early C19 were enhanced by the gently-meandering River Windrush and its wide, grassy banks, which runs through its centre, more or less parallel to the main street, with low, wide-arched C18 bridges crossing it. By the later C19 members of the professional classes began to retire to the village and, as it was provided with a railway station, the village benefited from the rise in tourism to the Cotswolds in the period. During the inter-war years, the rise in private motoring brought even larger numbers, and the village responded by the opening of numbers of guest houses and tea-shops to cater for the visitors. In 1936, Mr C A Morris, owner of the New Inn (later the Old New Inn) conceived the idea of turning the vegetable garden behind the pub into a miniature glen, with a waterfall and stream running through a grassy valley, with arched bridges inspired by those in Bourton. This idea soon expanded, and Mr Morris and his wife decided instead to make a faithful reproduction, at 1:9 scale, of the entire landscape and buildings of Bourton on the Water, from the mill in the north to the New Inn in the south, encompassing the River Windrush, the central streets and the Cotswold stone buildings.

Mr and Mrs Morris set about precisely measuring the village, and work began on construction in 1936; a team of eight local craftsmen worked to reproduce the buildings, landscape and the river, which runs with water. Local limestone, cut into ashlar blocks, was used to construct the walls of the buildings, incised to indicate coursing where appropriate. Stone from Huntsmans Quarries three miles away was used to make the miniature Cotswold stone slates which cover the roofs of the buildings. The village was opened to the public for the first time on 13 May 1937, in celebration of the Coronation of King George VI; the model was completed in 1940.

The model has remained almost unaltered since its completion, though the Morris family, who remained at the Old New Inn until 1999, and the subsequent owners, have sought to keep the model village as relevant to visitors as possible, regularly updating the shop signs and windows as the full-size buildings on which they were modelled undergo changes.


A model of the centre of Bourton on the Water village, built to 1:9 scale, dating from 1936-40.

MATERIALS The buildings are constructed in the main from larger blocks of Cotswold limestone, incised where appropriate to indicate coursing, with miniature Cotswold stone slate roofs, and glass inset for the windows. Boundary walls are Cotswold dry-stone walls built in miniature.

PLAN The model village is laid out exactly as the centre of the village appeared in the 1930s, covering the area from the old mill (used as the Motor Museum in 2012) in the north to the Old New Inn in the south, depicting the High Street and the River Windrush, and including parts of Station Road and Moore Road to the east of the High Street, and Victoria Street and Sherborne Street to the west. The only building not in its correct position is the parish church, which in reality stands just outside the area covered by the model; the model church is situated to the south of the model village.

DESCRIPTION The model village represents the core of the village of Bourton on the Water at the time it was constructed, with updated shop fronts and signs reflecting the changes in the retail premises which have taken place since its completion. The buildings, which number in the dozens, are all faithful reproductions of the full-size examples from which they are taken; these are largely Cotswold vernacular buildings from the C17, C18 and early C19, with some slightly earlier and some a little later in date, together with a few more polite buildings, such as the Lloyds Bank building on the High Street, with its C18 three-storey façade with canted bays and Venetian window, which stands over five feet high. The buildings are constructed from limestone ashlar to give tight joints, which are then incised where appropriate to reflect coursed stone, or left plain to represent an ashlar finish. The details of the various buildings are reproduced as far as possible in miniature, including the tracery to the windows of the churches, and the boundary walls, which are dry-stone walls on a tiny scale, with cock-and-hen coping or flat coping stones as appropriate. The buildings are all modelled in the round, with the same level of detailing to rear and side elevations as to the front. Only two of the buildings have visible interiors: the parish Church of St Lawrence, with its medieval nave and Georgian tower, has a complete interior showing the pointed-arched arcades, miniature pews and screen, with all details correct; these are viewed through a perspex pane in one wall. Similarly, the Baptist chapel has a complete set of interior fittings, visible through its wheel window and a perspex pane let into one wall. The river runs in its correct course through the model, with reproductions of the C18 bridges in their place. The model includes The Old New Inn, and in its garden, a model of the model village at one-ninth of the one-ninth scale of the original.


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of Gloucestershire: Volume VI, (1965), 33-49
Brooks, A, Verey, D, The Buildings of England: Gloucestershire I: The Cotswolds, (1999), 191
Gloucestershire Archives R53.21GS: The Model Village, Bourton on the Water – souvenir guide (1960s),


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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