Appeal for cottage memories

Do you have any memories to share of Mrs Smiths Cottage, in Navenby?
Do you have any memories to share of Mrs Smiths Cottage, in Navenby?

An appeal has been made for photographs and memories relating to Mrs Smith’s Cottage, the Navenby tourist attraction set to be restored on the back of a six-figure grant.

Earlier this year, North Kesteven District Council was successful in securing money from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help bring Mrs Smith’s Cottage back into use.

The East Road museum is a preserved example of a simple, early Victorian, Lincolnshire cottage, but has been closed to the public since 2013 after a routine structural survey identified problems.

As part of the restoration project, the district council wants to create an exhibition of photographs and memories of the cottage and is calling on the public’s help to do so.

Anyone who has anything they would like to submit – a photo taken from a family visit to the museum or a memory of a trip to discover what life for Mrs Smith was like, for example – can email msc@n-kesteven.gov.uk or call 01529 414155 to find out how.

A spokesman for the district council said: “Ultimately, the collection will form an exhibition in the future but also create a memory log online, helping to bring the cottage’s history to life.”

In September, the district council announced it had been given permission to start work on restoring Mrs Smith’s Cottage. The first phase will see the roof completely removed to establish the extent of the damage and discover what is required to make the cottage structurally safe once again.

Restoration work is expected to continue for the next three years, with a re-opening scheduled for 2019.

The majority of the funding has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, which earmarked £591,300 towards the project. The remainder of the £791,066 costs will be met by project partners.

Mrs Smith’s Cottage is named after its last resident who lived there for 75 years until her death, aged 102, in 1995.

On its website, the museum notes: “With walls only a single brick thick and the only modern innovations an inside toilet, cold water tap and electricity, it offers a glimpse into life in a bygone age.

“The cottage and visitors centre display artefacts and information relating to the life and times of Mrs Smith in a rural village from the Edwardian period to the late 20th century.”

It adds: “The building and the contents were preserved by the will and effort of local residents as something very special – displaying the simple and contented life of a woman who had little time for modern innovations.”

You can keep up to date with plans at www.n-kesteven.gov.uk or www.mrssmithscottage.co.uk.