New lease of life for Victorian cottage near Lincoln thanks to lottery funding

Plans to bring a cottage near Lincoln back into use as a tourist attraction are one step closer after the project received the first phase of funding needed to restore the building.

Mrs Smith’s cottage in Navenby closed its doors to members of the public in early 2013 after structural faults were identified.

The cottage is named after Hilda Smith who lived there for seven decades until her death in 1995 at the age of 102.

It is a preserved example of a simple, early Victorian, Lincolnshire cottage offering a glimpse into a bygone era, with walls only a single brick thick and the only modern innovations an inside toilet, cold water tap and electricity.

Since it closed to the public, the Friends of Mrs Smith’s Cottage and North Kesteven District Council have fought to attract funding to bring it back to use.

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 district council has now been successful in gaining the first of a two phase funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, meaning plans can be put into place to establish the project.

The total funding needed to carry out the works will be nearly £600,000; £187,500 for phase 1 and £403,800 for phase 2.

In phase one the roof will need to be completely removed to establish the extent of the damage and what is required to make the cottage structurally safe once again.

The overall ambition is to have a restored cottage which is fit for purpose as a visitor venue.

It is also hoped that the funding will allow the council to revamp the visitor centre with interactive exhibits to enhance the overall experience.

Councillor Marion Brighton, leader of North Kesteven District Council, said: “I am so pleased that we have been successful in this bid. Mrs Smith’s cottage offers a unique visitor experience in the heart of Lincolnshire, and anything we can do to allow people to come back and enjoy it is welcomed.

“It is experiences like this that people need when living in, and visiting the district.”