Richard Adolphus Came (1847-1917) was appointed architect for the Syndicate in 1886 and produced an aerial plan to show his vision of the centre of Woodhall Spa. His distinctive designs for houses and hotels are known as the English Style.
Turning left out of the Cottage Museum into Iddesleigh Road, you will find the old chemist’s shop of Carlton and Sons, now a private dwelling. It has elements of Came’s designs but the brickwork fronting the road used to be the plate glass windows of the original shop.
At the corner is Longwood House which is reputed to be a copy of Napoleon’s house on St. Helena. On early OS maps (1888), however, it is referred to as Oranienhof and is pre-Came in design.
Crossing the Broadway you will find two semi-detached Victorian houses of the Came period. They have the distinctive half-timbered pattern to the front elevation and the irregular dormer windows in the roof.
Continuing along Iddesleigh Road we have a new housing complex, Spa Court, which was built on the site of the Spa Hotel demolished in the 1980’s. This hotel had many names in the course of its history and before the First World War was known as the Hotel Göring.
On the right hand side of Iddesleigh Road is a row of six large, semi-detached houses which are definitely in the Came idiom. They are in the mock Tudor style and tend to have one or all of the following:
- small spire on the roof
- wooden features, i.e. carved facia, mock beams
- double frontages
- main entrance door at the side
- simple sash windows
- partial tile-hanging
- an area of flat roof hidden by the slope
- chimney stacks arranged so as to maximise space by allowing for fireplaces in the corners of rooms
At the end of the row of semi-detached houses is a large detached house which has been divided asymmetrically. It has Came features but like most of the larger houses is more substantially built of brick. Opposite is a house at the corner of Stanhope Avenue which appears to be of a later style in that it is less ornate.
If you turn right into Stanhope Avenue, you can walk past three large detached houses. Number 5 is of all brick construction and is probably Edwardian. Oakhurst next door has the appearance of a Came house as it has lots of his hallmarks, such as gable ends and tiles and it appears on the 1888 OS map. It is evident that the porch is a later addition to the original doorway.
Thoresway is probably a Came house – note the half-timbering chimney spire and tile-hung walls. The ground floor windows have been modified and they were probably more symmetrical when first built. Face Victoria Avenue and on your right you will see the rear gardens of Eagle Lodge, recently renovated and renamed the Woodhall Spa Hotel. This hotel existed pre-Came as a smaller residential building.
Tasburgh Lodge, the doctor’s surgery, is on the opposite corner. The original Victorian house was demolished by a landmine during the Second World War and was rebuilt in the 1950s.
Along Victoria Avenue on the right can be seen a group of six semi-detached houses which were probably used as guest houses to provide for the less affluent visitors to the Spa Baths. On the OS map of 1888 they are shown in situ before the Royal Hydro Hotel was built. They follow Came’s designs and have many of the features noted in the Iddesleigh Road grouping. Some of these houses have been modified or turned into flats but they are still very much as Came designed them in the 1880’s. The main entrances are on the side of the houses below a large half-timbered gable which varies from house to house.
On the left is a series of three detached houses probably built in the 1930s until you reach Wharfdale which is post-Came but did have a spire above the front door in photographs taken by John Wield. Many of the houses on this walk are in the collection which has been preserved in the Cottage Museum.
After Denbigh, the last of the Victorian semi-detached houses, Stanhope House is a detached house built of local brick, but not in the same style as depicted in Came’s vision. The stretch of road from Stanhope House to the end of Victoria Avenue used to border the ornamental gardens of the Royal Hotel, which contained a bandstand and tennis courts. Four detached bungalows, built since World War II, now occupy this stretch.
Turning right at the corner you will find Cornwall Terrace, which is illustrated on Came’s aerial view as a crescent. However, it was instead built parallel to the road and would not look out of place in one of the garden suburbs of the early C20th. There is Dutch influence in the gable ends and roof line and a very distinctive tower with lead covered cupola.
Moving north towards the crossroads, a hairdresser’s salon stands on the site of the old railway track and level crossing and across the road the present Budgen’s store used to be a railway goods and marshalling yard.
At the junction of Tattershall Road and Station Road is Royal Square, a park containing The Dam Busters’ Memorial. This was the site of the centrepiece of Came’s vision, the Royal Hotel, Hydro and Winter Gardens. It was a major part of Came’s plan for the village to have a shopping mall and hotel and later it was developed into an imposing structure, which incorporated a ballroom, baths and Pump Room. Sadly, in August 1943, it was destroyed when two parachute bombs landed in the village.
The Mall public house is now the only remaining structure to give an impression of how the whole hotel complex would have appeared. It features an entrance flanked by original tree trunks with branches, which would have been repeated along the original hotel façade.
After the Mall, heading east, Station Road opens out into The Broadway. Here the railway track used to cross the road and the station buildings and platform stood behind the shops. Beside the police station and the entrance to the car park there is a small section of railway track to indicate the course of the original railway which ran from Kirkstead Junction to Horncastle.
The Woodhall Hotel, formerly Eagle Lodge, pre-dated the Came era and like many of the large houses has served several functions; private house, council residential home and finally hotel. The shops opposite have changed little over the previous century and give some idea of how Came’s Mall may have looked.
The circular walk you have taken has now come to an end with your arrival at Iddesleigh Road. In the museum it will be possible to spot many of the buildings you have passed from the photographs taken by Mr. Wield, which were the basis of the Cottage Museum’s existence.