Woodhall Spa

The Cottage Museum

The Cottage Museum, a small community museum managed by volunteers in Woodhall Spa, first opened in 1987. It actually began over 100 years ago with the vision of John Wield. He foresaw that in the future people would ask about the origins of the Victorian spa and set about recording what he could.

The Cottage Museum

Wide Sky Design have created two new interactive installations as part of the Cottage Museum refurbishment project. These displays enable visitors to explore the photographic archives and are arranged to reflect the two major collections covering Woodhall Life and World War II.

Woodhall Life

John Wield had a fascination with the art of photography and it is his photographic collection, which forms the basis for today’s Cottage Museum, the home of his family from 1887 to the 1960s.

Woodhall Life Photos

Visitors to the museum can explore in great detail many of the photographs from John’s collection and watch videos of local residents describing their life in Woodhall Spa.

Woodhall Life Archive Extract

Each photograph is accompanied by a detailed description and can be enlarged to get a real sense of the period in which it was taken.

Woodhall Life Detailed Image

World War II

Woodhall Spa is at the heart of ‘Bomber’ County and by the end of the 2nd World War the RAF and USAAF had 49 operational airfields in Lincolnshire, with Lancaster bombers based at half of them.

The War Years Collection

617 Squadron (the ‘Dambusters’) operated from RAF Woodhall Spa from January 1944 to May 1945 and the Petwood Hotel was requisitioned by the Air Ministry to serve as the Officer’s Mess.

The War Years Detail

During the World War II Woodhall Spa recorded more air raid warnings than Lincoln. Armed guards surrounded the pinewoods where Edwardian aristocrats used to walk and where equipment and ammunition were stored. Paratroopers were sent directly from Woodhall Spa to Arnhem.

The War Years Photo Close Up

The Cottage

The cottage not only houses the Museum but is itself a major exhibit. Constructed of corrugated iron laid on a timber frame this was quite common for houses and other types of buildings such as churches, chapels and schools at the time.
A sales brochure held in the museum archives describes a similar dwelling erected for a Mrs Petre of Norfolk as follows:
“This convenient cottage is constructed of strong deal framing, covered on the outside with Galvanised Corrugated Iron, lined inside with varnished match-boarding, sheet felted between the wood and the iron, strong wood floor, eaves, gutters, down pipes, locks and window fasteners included. Outside woodwork painted three coats. Windows glazed with 21 oz glass. Carriage paid to nearest railway station. Erected by our men on purchasers own light brick-work foundation, he providing assistant labour.