Mrs Smith’s Cottage is located in Navenby, Lincolnshire and owned by North Kesteven District Council (NKDC). It was the home of Hilda Smith (nee Craven) from 1922 until 1995, just before her death at a remarkable 102 years of age.
The cottage itself dates back to the 1830’s, and was built in two phases with an extension added soon after construction in the 1840’s. It is likely this later part of the cottage was once used as a shop.
Until recently the cottage has been open to the public as a heritage attraction, representing the life of a typical Lincolnshire resident from a bygone age, now just a memory becoming ever more distant. The cottage was never designed to remain standing for so long and has developed a number of structural issues resulting in its temporary closure in 2016.
Following a successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid to ‘Rescue Mrs Smith’s Cottage’ a comprehensive programme of restoration is now underway. Further to this, Lincoln Conservation were commissioned by NKDC to undertake a programme of research into the historic decorative schemes in the cottage, providing an account of how its interior décor has evolved throughout the period of Mrs Smith’s occupancy, and potentially earlier. Samples of paints and wallpaper were removed from all rooms and spaces in the cottage, with one of the bedrooms revealing fragmentary evidence for numerous layers of early wallpapers pre-dating Mrs Smith’s occupancy. Traces of early wallpapers were also found trapped beneath the purlins and rafters in the roof.
The project is split into two phases: Phase 1 the “Development Phase” and phase 2 the “Delivery Phase”. Phase 1 is now complete, with phase 2 due to start in 2018 when we will be working with NKDC with exhibition planning & design, practical workshops, object conservation, training and Open Day activities.