VIDEO: Work starting on restoration of Mrs Smith’s Cottage visitor attraction in Navenby

  • Fact file about Mrs Smith’s Cottage: Mrs Smith’s Cottage Museum in Navenby is a preserved example of a simple, early Victorian, Lincolnshire cottage.
  • 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 at the museum display artefacts and information relating the life and times of Mrs Smith in a rural village from the Edwardian period to the late 20th century.
  • The museum is named after its last resident who lived there happily and independently until 1995, when she was 102 years old and who lived in the cottage for some 75 years.
  • The building and the contents were preserved by the will and effort of local residents as something very special - displaying as they do the simple and contented life of a lady who had little time for modern innovations.
  • Typical of early to mid 20th century rural life, the old black range, a single cold water tap, period furniture, a washhouse and ladders to the bedrooms are all preserved as Mrs Smith used them until she died.

Work is getting under way on restoring Mrs Smith’s Cottage back to its former glory.

Earlier this year North Kesteven District Council was successful in securing money from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), the largest heritage funder in the UK, to help bring the Navenby tourist attraction, which has been closed to the public since 2013, back into use.

Mrs Smith's Cottage, Navenby. EMN-160909-101551001

Mrs Smith's Cottage, Navenby. EMN-160909-101551001

The council has now received permission to start the works, with scaffolding due to go up in the next few weeks, and, in the first phase, the roof will need to be completely removed to establish the extent of the damage and discover what is required to make the cottage structurally safe once again.

It is anticipated the restoration will continue for the next three years, with a re-opening in 2019.

Ultimately, the overall ambition is to have a restored cottage which is fit for purpose as a visitor venue. The funding will also allow the council to revamp the visitor centre to enhance the overall experience.

Couns Marion Brighton Leader of NKDC, said: “I am pleased to see work starting on Mrs Smith’s Cottage, which is an important part of the district’s heritage.

“The cottage offers a unique visitor experience in the heart of Lincolnshire where people get a glimpse of what life was like in days gone by.

“It is important that the district has a wealth of leisure and cultural facilities for both residents and visitors and, as a council, we remain determined to invest in these areas.”

Mrs Smith’s Cottage closed in early 2013 after a routine structural survey identified problems. Since then, both North Kesteven District Council and the Friends of Mrs Smith’s Cottage have fought hard to gain funding to bring it back into use.

The majority of the funding will come from HLF who have earmarked £591,300 towards the project. The remainder of the £791,066 costs will be met by project partners.

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