Meet the people behind the scenes for Cranleigh Heritage Trust

by Trevor Dale // Main Photo: Marilyn Scott, Project Manager

Date for the diary, Cranleigh Heritage Trust is planning on a day to showcase the project in the front garden of the old cottage on April 13th between 10am and 3pm. Sadly, we are not permitted to show people the inside of the building in person, but we will have a virtual tour available and the team on hand to discuss the project.

As the project to conserve Cranleigh Hospital Cottage progresses, we would like to introduce two of our professional advisors. The National Lottery Heritage Fund has funded their fees and we are finding their input invaluable. Marilyn Scott and Hamish McGillivray bring an enormous wealth of experience that is helping build the case for the full award of Heritage Fund finance to bring this exciting project to fruition.

Marilyn Scott is the Project Manager for restoring the Old Hospital Cottage. She has extensive experience in museums, heritage and the arts, particularly those involving local communities. Previously she was Director of The Lightbox in Woking for 20 years. Marilyn is a grant assessor and mentor for both The National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Architectural Heritage Fund. She lives in Surrey and is a Deputy Lieutenant for the County. Marilyn is Chair of the Surrey Cultural Partnership representing all kinds of heritage and arts organisations and was awarded an MBE for services to heritage in 2020. 

We sought Marilyn’s advice as to whether the project might be eligible for National Lottery Heritage funding (NLHF). After hearing the detail, she immediately knew it had all the ingredients for a successful application. The cottage building is clearly of great heritage value and deserves to be saved. Marilyn has been working with Cranleigh Heritage Trust since 2023, submitting a successful application for funding to NLHF) to support the development phase of the application.

What was also exciting was it was found it has more than local significance as it is the first Cottage Hospital in the UK with care free at the point of delivery and so can be considered the model for the current NHS founded in 1948. The idea that the Cranleigh Heritage Trust had to use the building as a centre to deliver health and well-being activity, was really inspired. 

During 2024 we will further shape the project, confirm the restoration plan for the building and contact local groups to ensure that what the project delivers will really benefit the local community. We intend to submit a further application for Lottery Heritage funding to carry out the work by late Summer, with a response by year-end. 

Hamish MacGillivray, Activity & Interpretation Consultant

Hamish MacGillivray, who is our activity and interpretation consultant, sees himself as a story hunter. He has joined heritage projects to explore jungles of online documents and visit wow archives and mysterious museum stores to find forgotten stories or objects. This is not a solo journey; he always relies on creating a network of experts to advise and point the way. 

At the start of January, he tracked the first media report of Dr Napper’s experiment (March 1860) through the online archives of the British Medical Journal and then discovered nursing historian Sue Hawkins and the illuminating PhD thesis on Cottage Hospitals by the late Keith Atkins. Sue has revealed the names of the nurses at Cranleigh Cottage Hospital, from census returns, including probably the first Cranleigh nurse, Elizabeth Smith from Shropshire and her 10 year old son John. Both lived in the Cottage with four patients in 1861.  

So how does all this detective work help the project? All the clues we find will help towards planning a research project for volunteers to find more hidden stories as part of the next phase of the Lottery Heritage application. Hamish is currently testing display ideas for the limited space available. If the grant application is successful, volunteers will be exploring more archives and collections to provide the content for small displays and a digital archive. 


There are many opportunities for enthusiastic volunteers to join the project. This promises to be a rewarding challenge for those with an interest in history and heritage, or in helping people. Please contact us by phone, 01483 272987, letter or email to;

If you are a charity, business or therapist please do contact us to register your interest. We need long-term partners, and the Heritage Fund panel needs us to show them how we are engaging with our community. 

To register an expression of interest in future use of the facilities please do write to us with the following information:

1. Brief description of what you offer and the benefits to clients and customers.

2. Say if and where you currently offer this service and why people would use the cottage to meet you.

3. Brief declaration of support for the project in general.

4. Return name and address and any website or social media links.

Thank you so much! Trustees Trevor Dale – Chair; Howard Barratt; Jane Briggs; Chris Bulley; Sue Dale; Nigel West. Advisors Bob Callard – architect; Joanna James – business advisor, Michael Miller & Joy Horn, History advisors.

Visit our website:

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Cranleigh Magazine