We are delighted to announce that we are restoring and renovating the Old Cottage Hospital building in Ashby de la Zouch, within the town’s Conservation Area. When the renovation is complete, the Old Cottage Hospital will be our new home.
Our base for the past 25 years is a converted barn in Packington, but it is cramped, and we have outgrown the space. We currently have a team of 15 squashed into 1,100 sq ft of space, with nowhere for meetings or our archive. Our new offices in the Old Cottage Hospital will see us with plenty of room to expand and allows us 3,000 sq ft of space for up to 25 people, plus meeting rooms, kitchen areas, server space and printing facilities.
We are also creating first-floor serviced office space, and we will be bringing in design, building and sales specialists, who work with us on an on-going basis, to occupy these suites.
We’re immensely proud to have the opportunity to be involved in giving this much-loved local building some TLC and a full MOT, to restore its original Victorian heritage.
A brief history of the Old Cottage Hospital
From the mid-1860s the “cottage hospital” movement saw the establishment of hundreds of small, local community hospitals, funded by philanthropists, endowments and charitable donations.
By 1893 the movement had reached Ashby de la Zouch, where it was decided at a public meeting that the town should set up its own cottage hospital.
Donations were collected which lead to the formation of a small hospital in an end-of-terrace house on the corner of Prior Park Road and South Street.
This new hospital was a success, but it soon became clear it was not large enough.
In 1897, to coincide with Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, it was decided to create a new, purpose-built hospital on the old cricket field at the corner of Leicester Road and Range Road, opposite the grammar school. The funds to develop the new hospital came mainly from Mr Edward Ison, who pledged £1,000 – the equivalent of £104,000 in today’s money.
The foundation stone of the new Ashby Cottage Hospital was laid at a ceremony on 30th July 1897, and the hospital opened its doors to patients in May of the following year.
The hospital site gradually expanded over the next 15 years, and during the First World War it was home to injured servicemen as well as local people.
By 1948 the hospital was absorbed into the newly formed National Health Service. During the 1950s the site was significantly developed with the addition of several single-storey extensions.
In 1988 the site, along with seven others in the Leicester area, was earmarked for closure, but public protests ensured the hospital was saved, albeit without its maternity ward.
But the reprieve was to be short-lived. Leicestershire NHS Trust deemed the building no longer fit for purpose and closed the hospital in 2014, and in 2017 it was bought by local developers Lychgate Homes.
An exciting new future
Plans for the hospital site include demolishing the 1950s extensions and restoring the Victorian elements of the building to their former glory. Four new homes will be built on Range Road, and the original hospital building will be completely refurbished.
We’ll be posting regular updates on the progress of the restoration, so stay tuned.