Corrugated iron in Great Gidding and the surrounding parish, Cambridgeshire, UK

The opening theme for this new series fits the bill perfectly for the everyday, unseen, and ignored until you consider the implications of its wide ranging usefulness, its historical legacy and its versatility. We are talking corrugated iron, crinkly tin, wavy sheets, corrie, just some of the names it is known by. A stroll around the parish reveals that corrugated iron is alive and well and still has its uses 180 years after it was first invented.

Crown Cottage

Replacing roofs

Many old cottages across the country owe their survival to having thatch roofs replaced by the corrugated sheets when times were hard. Improving standards and greater wealth allowed re-thatching in later years.



Corrugated barnCorrugated barn

From pigsties to aircraft hangers

As materials improved so did corrugated iron, various lengths, coatings and galvanising all helped prolong its usefulness. Building sites were surrounded with it, as were scrap yards. In its heyday government stores and aircraft hangers all clad in black crinkly tin.

The list goes on, hen houses, pigsties, places of worship, garden sheds, allotment fences and when curved sheets were introduced we had Nissen huts (easily erected sheds without the need for bracing). By the mid 1800ís corrugated iron was exported all over the developing world.

Although still available today its applications are somewhat limited. Although the principals of profiled sheets are used to cover the huge warehouses that are built today.

View larger image of Woodfield Farm barn

View larger image of classic crinkly barn, Great Gidding


corrugated iron for restoration

Saving old structures

Most of us will have seen or heard about Restoration Britain where Gryff Rhys Jones along Ptholemy and Marrianne peer into a tumble down wreck of a building and one of the first things they do is lift or move a sheet of corrugated to reveal some marvellous architectural feature.

Result, building saved not only by the great British public but also by corrugated iron.



corrugated sheep block

Them pesky sheep

We all know that sheep firmly believe that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. So many shepherds have over the years tried to block holes in hedges with varying degrees of success and the blocking material of choice was usually a corrugated sheet stuffed into the hedgerow. The modern alternative is the wooden pallet.



Corrugated lavatoryCorrugated lavatory2Corrugated lavatory2

Corrugated iron lavatory

For all the mundane every day uses of corrugated iron there are some great survivors from an earlier time. We have within the parish a wonderful example of a pre-fabricated lavatory. This structure is more than likely over 100 years old. Featuring a fully lined wooden interior with two-seater facility with double door soil removal access from the rear!!!!

It was probably seen and purchased in a sales catalogue from an Iron works that specialised in pre-fabricated buildings.

Such a catalogue can be viewed at

View larger images | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |