A Brief History
The former Winsford Cottage Hospital is a Grade II* listed building, designed by the distinguished Arts & Crafts architect C.F.A. Voysey, a contemporary of William Morris and Edwin Lutyens. It is the only building in the United Kingdom designed by him that is still in public ownership. Despite 50 years in the hands of the NHS it remains almost entirely as it was when it opened in 1900. The NHS declared the hospital redundant in 1999.
How Was The Trust Setup?
The Winsford Trust was created after the hospital’s League of Friends, in partnership with Age Concern Torridge, secured ownership of the building for the benefit of the community. The Centre now hosts local organisations including the history society, the garden club, guides & brownies and a satellite GP surgery. Rooms are also available to small rural businesses looking for office space or a meeting venue. Numerous community events are held in the building every year.
The Restoration Project
In 2007 the Trust embarked on a restoration programme that is still in progress. The total estimated cost of the restoration is £1.5 million. The first stage of the process was to carry out a full condition survey of the building. We received a grant from English Heritage which was match funded by the Pilgrim Trust and the survey is now complete.
Part of the restoration was to replace our ageing, obsolete and highly inefficient oil-fired boilers which were installed by the NHS many years ago. This is an essential part of the restoration.
In 2012 we were able to secure a large percentage of funding from the Leader 4 initiative along with some smaller match funding grants from District County Councillors.
Leader 4 for Torridge and North Devon + provides project funding to help improve the economy, the environment and the quality of life for rural areas. The programme is funded by a European grant and Defra.
Our Biomass Fuel Boiler
We have now replaced the ancient boilers with an environmentally friendly 75KW ETA biomass fuel boiler. This has been housed in our existing boiler room and the storage for the wood chip pellets are housed in the adjacent original coal store.
The boiler was commissioned on Friday 25th January 2013 by Dunster Biomass Heating and the installation was carried out by Solarsense, a South West based company.