The grade II listed Thimble Hall in Youlgrave is a tiny 18th Century one-up, one-down cottage, with the upper floor having originally been accessed by a wooden ladder. The hall was named as the ‘Smallest detached house in Great Britain’ in August 2000 by Guinness World Records, after being purchased by Bruno Frederick in 1999 at an auction which attracted bidders from around the world. Last used as a dwelling in the 1930’s, and at one time home to a family of eight, the hall has latterly been used as a butchers, a cobblers and an antique shop.
Bench Architects were commissioned by the Fredericks to design proposals for a compact extension, which while suitably diminutive would provide improved access to the first floor and ancillary accommodation in order to allow the hall to be converted into a museum – intended to include the world’s largest collection of thimbles – and a local crafts gallery. The proposal incorporates a folded patinated copper staircase, prefabricated toilet pod, woven stainless steel screens, and a bespoke reception desk and in integrated display counter, set within a lightweight envelope of structural glass and PFTE-coated woven glass fibre fabric.