Part of the reason for going off-grid is the obscene price of property. But even high-earners will be appalled at the £140,000 asking price for a small beach hut in Dorset.
Crazy places – crazy prices
Hut 180, and the 344 like it, sits on a spit of sand and shingle between the natural lagoon of Christchurch Harbour in Dorset and Christchurch Bay, with the Isle of Wight and the Needles in view eight miles away.
Unlike most beach huts, owners are allowed to stay the night, and unlike most of the beaches round here, you can bring your dogs.
As recently as 1971 it was possible to buy one for as little as £290 (£2,500 at today’s prices) and in 1955 they were available for £96 (£1,510).
A normal day-hut price in the area is £5,000 to £10,000, according to Barry Sprules, operator of the internet site beachhutworld.com. That makes the recent sale of a day-hut in nearby Poole for £100,000 a bizarre deal, but that hut is in the exclusive Sandbanks area where land prices are higher than in Manhattan.
Beach huts have an auspicious history. George III used bathing machines at Mudeford in 1801, although admittedly it was only to get to the barge that would carry him to his yacht, and across Christchurch Bay Queen Victoria set the trend in the 1840s when she installed a machine at Osborne House. In the early 1900s, the beach hut, which derives from the wheeled bathing machines used by Victorian ladies to protect their modesty, was described as “a holiday home for the toiling classes”.
In the 1930s, George V was credited with making beach huts fashionable when he and Queen Mary spent the day at one near Beachy Head.
But in post-war Britain, it had become a classless abode.