Voysey's careful design, respected and restored by skilled craftspeople
As part of the restoration of Winsford Cottage Hospital, we have respected all of Voysey’s signature details that have, remarkably, survived.
Now the building is a Landmark for up to six people, with the four rooms in the east wing set aside for local community use.
Read the project updates
The restoration of Winsford Cottage Hospital was supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.
An extraordinary place to stay
For almost a century, local people crossed the threshold at Winsford to enter the welcoming embrace of its light and airy rooms. Cottage hospitals were intended to inspire 'feelings of rest and homely comfort' among the patients and the focus was on recuperation as much as medical care. As a remarkable place to stay for a holiday, Voysey's endearing little hospital will once again provide comfort and respite, in a slightly different way, for generations to come.
Now, the west and central parts of this long building have been developed into a self-contained Landmark for six people, with only minimal adaptation of Voysey’s carefully-designed spaces. The east wing of five rooms has been kept in low-key community use, in line with local wishes, to include an interpretation space.
We were delighted to receive significant recognition for Winsford Cottage Hospital in the Royal Institute of British Architect’s Regional Awards 2022. Winning the RIBA South West Regional Award and the special RIBA South West Conservation Award.
Beginning at the top
A crucial part of the project was the replacement of the enormous Cornish Delabole slate roof, laid in diminishing courses, which is so characteristic of Voysey's style. Repairs to the roof were tackled in sections. First, our roofing contractors stripped each section of its slates and then sheeted it over, so as to protect the original sarking boards, battens and layer of insulating horse hair beneath. The slates were then assessed for quality and any broken ones discarded. We used locally-salvaged Delabole slates to match the originals, meaning we can rehang, in diminishing courses, to the original design. Inside the building, we repaired the original lime plaster where it was loose. Some walls in particularly poor condition, were completely re-plastered. Four coats of lime plaster was applied to get a smooth and precise finish. Lime plaster can fail if temperatures drop below five degrees, so heaters and de-humidifiers were used in conditions of especially cold weather.
Conserving the elaborate mosaic floor
Following our first attempt at removing the concrete screed from the mosaic floor, volunteers returned on two further weekends to continue this painstaking work and removed it from the corridor and some of the smaller rooms, where the original mosaic floor remained. It was an enormous challenge, requiring repetitive chipping, careful scraping and sanding. In some places the screed was several millimetres thick and rubbery in consistency. In others it was a hard, thin, stubborn skin. We cannot thank our volunteers enough for the work they have done: their contribution has been phenomenal. Once our contractors JE Stacey completed their work to the interior of the building, all the protective covering over the mosaic floor was removed and it was thoroughly cleaned. This allowed us to properly assess how to rebuild the surface, where it was most worn.
The restoration of the original mosaic floors, hidden for so many years beneath layers of NHS lino, was a painstaking and time-consuming task but the end results are definitely well worth the effort.
Thank you to our supporters
We are hugely grateful to all those who have supported the appeal for Winsford Cottage Hospital, including:
The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Guardians of Winsford Cottage Hospital:
Mrs S Andrew, Mr E Bonham-Carter, Mr H A Burge, Dr C Guettler and Ms J Graham, Mr K Holmes, Mr and Mrs C Hutt, Mr I Lillicrap, Revd J and Revd S Pitkin, Mr S Record, Mr and Mrs M Seale, Ms M Swann and Mr W M Tsutsui, Dr R T Ward, Mrs J Waterman and Mr C Watson
Patrons and other generous individuals:
Professor M Airs, Dr J and Mrs S Barney, Ms M Black, Dr S Conrad, Dr P Corry, Mrs F Fairbairn, Dr R Gurd, Mr D Holberton, Mr R Joye, Mr and Mrs J Knowles, Mrs S Lund, Mr M Power, Mr M Rice, Dr R Schofield, Mr and Mrs J Scott, Mr and Mrs J Seekings, Dr P Strangeway and Mr and Mrs N Vetch
Charitable Trusts and Statutory Grants:
The AALL Foundation, Architectural Heritage Fund, T B H Brunner Charitable Trust, Dennis Curry's Charitable Trust, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, The Nerquis Hall Fund, The Norman Family Charitable Trust, Oakley Charitable Trust, The R V & R H Simons Trust, Philip Smith's Charitable Trust, The C F A Voysey Society
Gifts in Wills
Mr T Bell, Mr M Grange, Mr G Ireland, Mr H Lewis, Mrs J Molyneux, Mr G Ruthen, Mrs J Ryland and Mrs R Stevenson. A gift in memory of Mr P Cobley.
We thank all who have supported the appeal, including other Guardians, Patrons and trusts who have chosen to remain anonymous.
Thanks to over 1,373 generous supporters who have helped to save this extraordinary place.