Full Award – Emery Down Almshouse Charity, Lyndhurst

Admiral Frederick Moore Boultbee commissioned five almshouses to be built on land he had purchased from Joseph Payne in January 1871 for £120. Emery Down Cottages comprise five dwellings in the centre of Emery Down, a village close to the New Forest town of Lyndhurst.  By 2009, it was apparent that the cottages were in urgent need of modernisation.

The aim of the Trustees was to restore these prestigious Grade II listed cottages and this was achieved through an excellent design sympathetic to the rural setting and the environment of the New Forest and the Victorian heritage.

Trustees embarked on an exciting remodelling scheme in order to provide the best possible accommodation for their residents.  High quality materials and workmanship were used throughout the project.  Thanks to the generosity of the Charity’s  Chairman and her husband, a parcel of land to the rear of the almshouses was given to the Charity to enable them to provide rear extensions.  This has led to the provision of new kitchens and bathrooms, a much improved internal layout in each cottage, and sufficient space for modern living.  The gardens have been laid to lawn, and pathways improved.

From the outset, a significant challenge was funding, and there were periods in the process when Trustees felt that completion would be unattainable.  However, following a very active local fundraising effort, the Charity raised £65,000.  It was evident that the local community recognised the value of almshouse accommodation, and the historic importance of the almshouses themselves.

Not only did Trustees embark an ambitious project despite some significant financial risk but they produced a design which is impressive from an architectural perspective, practical and which will give the Charity a new lease of life.