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The village of Woodhall Spa was first established in response to the discovery and exploitation of mineral-rich springs. However, this also increased the popularity of the village and the prices of homes.
John Wield, who worked for the spa by transporting guests around the village in donkey-drawn bath chairs, had a solution for the difficulties in finding a home in Woodhall. In 1887, he purchased and erected a flat-packed kit house from the Boulton & Paul company. At the time, they were the leading manufacturers of prefabricated buildings. The Wield family occupied the home until 1965.
Wield was also a keen amateur photographer all his life. During the 1980s, his photos were offered to the community, but only if they could be displayed. A few years later a trust was formed in Woodhall to purchase the house when it appeared on the market. After the purchase, Wield’s photo archive documenting life in the spa community were finally displayed. The cottage is one of the most well-preserved examples of a Boulton & Paul home still standing.
The entrance hallway and living room are displayed as they would have been during the Wield’s occupation. The rest is used as a display space for photographs and a few small artifacts. Although the historic building itself is a major attraction, Wield’s photographs allow visitors to relive the development of a unique spa town.
Know Before You Go
In the front garden of the Cottage Museum is a stone memorial to the British Paratroopers and glider troops who left the nearby RAF Woodhall Spa to fly to Arnhem for Operation Market Garden in 1944. The museum is not open all year round so check the website.