Mrs Smith’s Cottage is a grade II listed building at East Road, Navenby and is currently designated as a Public Museum.
It is believed to have been built in the 1830’s as a small domestic dwelling. Evidence suggests the cottage was built in two stages, with the left half built first and the right half added approximately 10 years later. Electricity was installed in the property in the 1930’s to replace the gas lamps. In the 1970s the property failed to meet modern building regulations and was condemned by the Council as unfit for habitation.
The cottage was purchased by Mrs Hilda Smith in the 1920s and continued to live there for the remainder of her life, until she passed away in May 1995. During the 75 years she resided in the property she resisted most forms of technology and modern development that she classed as unnecessary change.
Within the same year of Mrs Smith’s death, the local community formed The Friends of Mrs Smith’s Cottage, in order to raise funds to preserve the property. With financial aid from a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the cottage was purchased by North Kesteven District Council and renovation work was carried to stabilise the building. The restoration included extensive work to the roof chimneys. This work was completed in early 1999. The cottage was officially opened to the public on July 7th 1999 and was accredited with museum status in 2000.
In 2013 the Council engaged a structural engineer to carry out an inspection of the building. They concluded that there were a number of faults that compromised the stability of the roof and first floor wall structure. Following this report the cottage was closed to the public. In 2015 the Council was successful with a HLF grant application which led us to this point of engaging a contractor to erect the scaffolding in order that the roof structure could be further investigated.
Lindum was appointed to undertake strengthening the roof structure based on guidance from the structural engineer. Additional works include reinstating the roof tiles and providing additional new ones to match existing, realigning and decorating existing gutters and unblocking and reinstating flue liners to the chimneys to make them operational.