From the 17th century onwards small communities developed at the edge of the Fens to serve the growing local industries of turf and sedge cutting.
Living conditions in the cottages were very basic. Drinking water was obtained from a pump by the road-side. each dwelling had a bucket-closet, emptied at night by the soil-man.
This example of a Fenland cottage has been restored as part of the historical display at Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire.