A Brief History of the Site

We're very privileged to live on historic Standard Hill, Nottingham, where King Charles I famously raised his standard at the beginning of the Civil War in 1642. 

plaqueThe event is commemorated by a small plaque in the road just outside the listed gates and on one of the walls of the buildings opposite.

Our site actually occupies what was originally the North Bailey of the Castle.  The road below Royal Standard House (Lenton Lane) was cut through the rock in the early 19th century to give access from the town to the former Castle Park cutting off Standard Hill from the Castle.

Left: plaque on a nearby wall

 

The General Hospital

In the late 18th century Nottingham’s first hospital was built here following a bequest from Banker John Keys. It relied on private donations and public subscription. The Duke of Newcastle and the Nottingham Corporation each gave an acre of land.  The formal opening of the first hospital building in September 1782 was a major event in Nottingham. Below are pictures of the original hospital in 1787, 1895 and 1904 from the Picture the Past website (see below). You can still see the original building in the Arena area today. 

hospital 1787hospital 1895   hospital 1904

 

There were initially 44 cast iron beds.  All patients had to obtain a letter of recommendation signed by a hospital subscriber.  If a patient died, the subscriber was responsible for removing the corpse. Over the years many buildings were added. In 1854-5 the famous local architect TC Hine added a storey, the clock and the chapel at the side.

wards

This main hospital building connects to a circular building known as the Rotunda (now housing the Roundhouse pub) which was previously the Jubilee Wing – a ward block built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee and opened in 1902.  This building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (also responsible for the old Prudential Building on King/Queen Street).

wounded soldiers The hospital was home to numerous injured soldiers during the First World War (right).

In 1972 the huge 9 storey Trent Wing was build behind the Rotunda (see photo above left) on what is now the Arena open space.

The General became a very well known and respected facility until 1992 when the majority of services transferred to the Queen’s Medical Centre.  The site had literally run out of space. 

 

view of hospital from castleThe Nurses' Home - Memorial House/Royal Standard House

Royal Standard House, designed by Frederick Evans & Sons of Highbury Vale is Grade II listed and was originally the Nurses' Home. 

It was built by public subscription and opened by the Prince of Wales in 1923.  Built of high quality brick, limestone and Westmorland slate it was originally named Memorial House as a memorial to those who gave their lives in the First World War.

memorial house 1923Prince of Wales at Memorial House

There were many problems in laying the foundation stones because of the different site levels, old wells and caves in the rock.  During excavations the remains of the Outer Bailey Wall of the Old Castle, built in 1252 were uncovered in several places.

 

nurses supper

 

Nurses, who had to be single, were obliged to ‘live in’ under strict house rules.  Supper was at 8pm sharp and only nurses on their weekly half day off were allowed out at night – they had to be back in at 10pm (even in the 60s!).

Left: is this now your lounge?

 

postcardThree tennis courts for the nurses used to be situated in what is now the open area of the Arena but were given up for the construction of the state of the art Trent Wing opened by Sir Keith Joseph in 1972.  This building had nine floors and towered above the old eighteenth century building, but there was no other land to build on. 

The Trent Wing, considered an eyesore, was demolished after the closure of the hospital.


Regeneration & Preservation

In 1990 a master plan for the site was produced in consultation with the City Council and designs were drawn up by local architects, Crampin & Pring. 

Crosby Homes acquired part of the site for conversion to residential buildings.  Memorial House was converted into apartments in 1999.  City Point was subsequently built on the site of an old ward block in 2000 on a cliff-top position looking over The Park.  Finally after much debate and consultation about building heights and the preservation of views around the Castle, the Arena apartments were completed in 2003.

casualty 1929Hart’s Restaurant is in the old A&E and Hart’s Hotel stands on the site of Broxtowe House, a Regency house which was used as accommodation for resident doctors.

The Jubilee Wing was turned into a restaurant in 1997 and is now The Roundhouse.

 

St Mary's Vicarage

 

 

Listed buildings in the area include: 2 and 4 Standard Hill, St Mary’s and St Peter’s Vicarage (1810), Tower Lodge and Park Lodge towards Park Row.

 

 

 

You can find lots of information about the history of Nottingham on the following sites:-

www.nottshistory.org.uk

www.nottsheritagegateway.org.uk

www.university of nottingham.ac.uk

There are also some interesting old pictures of the hospital on these sites:-

www.picturethepast.org.uk

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e9YwiPoKdo

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v2TQWpsyhQ&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v2TQWpsyhQ

www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/content/image_galleries/city_walk_in_pictures_gallery.shtml?11

If you want to know more about life at the General Hospital we recommend:-

 ‘Nottingham General Hospital: Personal reflections’ by John Bittiner and David Lowe.