John Clare Visitor Centre

We were part of a multi-disciplinary team appointed by the Trust with the aim of developing the John Clare cottage into an environmental and educational centre of excellence, writers’ retreat, and visitor centre. The centre sets a creative benchmark for education and environmental training.

The John Clare Trust required us to design and build a visitors centre for the public, incorporating a cafe, shop and exhibition space. To re-design and renovate the John Clare cottage into a learning experience for educational tours with artifacts which links to the visitors centre, with an external trail around the land.

We were able to use our creativity and flair for this centre creating an atmosphere that visitors feel comfortable in, with a focal point for meetings and educational tours for students. The cottage has stone floors, lime-washed walls and ceilings and natural wood floor beams to re-create the vision of John Clare’s cottage. The design incorporates a striking opening reception area for visitors to ensure their first impressions are of strong anticipation.The entrance lobby creates a link from the ‘old’ to the ‘new’ architecture simulating the time throughout history to the present day.

In order to give better access to the exhibition space we created a new visitor's path that flows through the centre allowing guests clear and simple negotiation.

“The heart of the Cottage has been restored and transformed to its original 18th century state and will be used as a celebration of Clare's work and life. The gardens have been redesigned and populated with the flora and fauna Clare was so fond of and documented within his works. The Cottage along with the charming 18th century dovecote is set to become a dynamic centre of outside-of-classroom learning as well as preserving an important piece of local and national heritage.”

The John Clare Cottage Trust


  • Culture & Civic


John Clare Trust


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