Oakhurst, the National Trust-owned 16th Century farm labourer’s cottage, reopens next Wednesday (April 1St) after six months of restoration and repairs.
The process has unearthed much new and fascinating information about the history of the cottage, a remarkable survival of a largely-unaltered humble agricultural worker’s dwelling into 21st Century Surrey.
As usual, village volunteers will be responsible for showing visitors around the cottage and have been briefed on the restoration and research. Even those who have viewed the property before will find it worth another visit.
From its beginning at the end of the 16th Century the little cottage has survived, not without alterations, but substantially much as it would have appeared to Hambledon residents 200 years ago. It has been furnished in the manner of a mid-19th Century farm labourer’s home and provides an authentic impression of rural working class life of the time.
The cottage was given to the National Trust in 1954 by the Allfrey sisters, who let it out to tenants Elsie and Ted Jeffrey. Elsie died in 1978 and Ted continued to live in the cottage until he died in 1983.
Its un-modernised state gave the National Trust the idea of opening it to the public. Since 1985 Hambledon volunteers have formed a rota to show people around by appointment.
Last autumn the National Trust embarked on extensive renovations using specialist craftsmen and women. Sagging roof timbers were repaired or replaced and damaged plaster was attended to using traditional methods of lime plastering.
At the same time the National Trust undertook research in Oakhurst Cottage’s history, producing a timeline that is now contained in a pamphlet available to visitors. The work was overseen by NT curator Sarah Woodcock and the research was carried out by Sophie Clarke.
The traditional cottage garden is currently being restored by Matt Phelps, gardener at the nearby National Trust property, Winkworth Arboretum.
Oakhurst Cottage is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturday and Sundays between 2pm and 5pm from April to September and until 4pm in October. It is also open on Bank Holiday Mondays.
Advance booking is required by telephoning 01483 208936 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Further details can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/oakhurstcottage
and on our village website, with a comprehensive gallery of photographs of the restoration and the interior of Oakhurst.
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