Napper Cottage – a new future for the first cottage hospital in England

By Trevor Dale

Cranleigh Heritage Trust has been awarded a development phase grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund of £58,700, made possible by National Lottery players.

This money is to build a solid project plan to apply for the full conservation amount, so that the first Cottage Hospital in England and the inspiration for the National Health Service can be saved for the future as a multi-purpose Heritage and Community Hub  

The total project cost is currently estimated at over £800,000 after building in inflation and contingency. Approximately 90% of that will come from Lottery funding, so please keep buying lottery tickets. We must also gain further grants and funding and can count volunteer hours as payment in kind.

If you wish to donate personally, there is now a donate button on our website, and please tick the gift aid box if appropriate.

Conservation work must not be started without NLHF approval and that is likely to be over a year away from now. Of course, that could be brought forward if further surveys deem the building is under immediate threat. The cottage currently seems safe for now.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is impressed with the business plans and letters of support received at this stage. It stipulates what steps we must take, in great detail, and will appoint an advisor to work with us. They insist that we hire professional specialists to ensure the plan is robust and they will scrutinise every detail. We must be patient because they insist the Development Stage must last a year before applying for the full grant. It would seem some previous projects have collapsed and lost money. We have no intention of letting that happen. Timescale is to apply for the full grant by August 2024 with a hope to start actual work in early 2025.

An alternative plan for the main downstairs room, with thanks to Edwin Onions

The project team need to demonstrate long term interest and active support, so please do register support and we are investigating offering a membership scheme for a modest fee.

For those readers who may be new to this, Cranleigh Heritage Trust charity (CIO) was formed to save the cottage that is the Grade II listed building at Cranleigh Village Hospital.  Many people agree that Cranleigh High Street is privileged to have this very special building on it, which was built in around 1446 and was in use until 2010. The structure and its history are of significant historic interest, because it is very rare to have a medieval cottage only slightly modified from the original.

Now our community has an opportunity to conserve it with great care and provide rooms that will be available to rent for vital health and wellbeing services.  Once opened, it will offer meeting rooms for hire on a sessional basis.  The rooms available will be one large and one small downstairs, and three rooms upstairs.  It will be an atmospheric place to visit, and volunteers will make it available for heritage education and information resources.  A new website will support every aspect of it. The building will be restored with some sensitive but necessary modernisations to basic services. 


We will be seeking more team members during the Development Phase to help with what promises to be an arduous but very rewarding task ahead.  Once we have commenced this phase, the needs of the team will become clearer, and we can then be more specific about which aspects of the project require greater assistance.  We will look forward to your ideas and help at that time.  

Very best wishes from the Team.

Thank you for your support, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Date for the diary – 29 November 7 pm Annual Meeting of Cranleigh Heritage Trust combined with Cranleigh Society at the Band Room Village Way Cranleigh

Visit our website 
or contact us at Email : 

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Cranleigh Magazine