Artist to work on historic site near Sleaford

Mrs Smith's Cottage in Navenby is a popular tourist attraction, acting as a 'time capsule' to a bygone era.
Mrs Smith's Cottage in Navenby is a popular tourist attraction, acting as a 'time capsule' to a bygone era.

An artist has been appointed to help restore an historic visitor attraction near Sleaford to its former glory - preserving it for future generations.

Artist in residence Nicki Jarvis has joined the project team working to breathe life back into Mrs Smith’s Cottage, at Navenby.

Artist in residence Nicki Jarvis, outside Mrs Smith's Cottage.

Artist in residence Nicki Jarvis, outside Mrs Smith's Cottage.

The post, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by a project officer, will see Nicki engage with schools and the local community to awaken the history of the cottage - which is believed to date back to the 1830s.

A popular tourist attraction, the cottage is seen as a ‘time capsule to a bygone era’ - with its former long-term resident Mrs Smith having lived a traditional life there for seven decades. She kept extensive diaries about her home and life in Navenby, so the project will also see the ‘life and times of Mrs Smith’ preserved and brought to life.

Nicki said: “I am hugely pleased to have been selected as artist in residence. Mrs Smith’s long life was played out in seasonal domestic rhythms and in relationships with a strong local network, which she recorded in a daily diary over decades. She made do with much less than we take for granted these days and this appreciation of frugality is what inspires me as a maker. I’m really looking forward to exploring Mrs Smith’s story with the local community and beyond.”

Over the past seven years, North Kesteven District Council has sought to fund and restore the cottage. In 2016 it received the boost that was needed to kick-start it thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The team behind the project will now begin the plans to get it back into use as a visitor venue, starting with hard-hat tours, planned towards the end of the summer to allow visitors to see how far it has come.

A council spokesman said: “Following consultation with local residents and those closest to the project, Nicki Jarvis will give visitors the chance to sample life in early 20th century Lincolnshire through her creativity and vision.

Residents felt her work best understood what the project was about, and appreciated the story behind it.”

l To book one of the tours, email MrsSmithsCottage@n-kesteven.gov.uk.