The hunt for an architect to restore one of the district’s heritage attractions is underway.
Tenders are being sought for the architect and structural engineer to restore Mrs Smith’s Cottage in Navenby.
Earlier this year North Kesteven District Council secured over half a million pounds from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help bring the Navenby tourist attraction, which has been closed to the public since 2012 due to structural problems, back into use.
The council has received permission to start the works, 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.
The next stage is to appoint various contractors to undertake the development stage of the project with tenders sought in three areas – governance review and business plan; audience development, activity plan, interpretation plan and learning plan; and structural engineer, architect and conservation plan.
A spokesman for the NKDC project said 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.
Mrs Smith’s Cottage closed in 2012 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 will come from HLF, which has earmarked £591,300 towards the project. The remainder of the £791,066 costs will be met by project partners.
Mrs Smith’s Cottage Museum 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.
Artefacts and information relate to the life and times of Mrs Smith who lived there happily and independently until 1995, when she was 102 years old.