Monday, 4 February 2013

The Oval

The Oval was the area outside the front of the hospital and the area where the front of hospital was depicted like this drawing of the hospital.

When you look at the drawing of the place when it first opened and compare it with how it changed over the years little seems to have changed.

This photo was taken I think sometime in the late 1940's of early 1950's and was one of the photo's my father had in his possessions. The place as you can see has a good covering of ivy. Note over on the left the walled are which is in the drawing at the start.

Photo from the Bershire Medical Musium collection
A few years later the covering was cleared  

Photo from the Bershire Medical Musium collection
By the 1980's the front looked like this

Photo from the Bershire Medical Musium collection
 and by the 1990's like this a few years later the hospital shut 

This is how the place looking in 2008 five years after the place closed. The place had changed little.

But in 2010 when you look at this photo towards the same area you can see the wall has gone many years before hand.

The wonderful arch that had been there was also gone and a concrete lintel in it's place though the other arches were still there.

This photo of my Father was taken outside the main entrance to Fairmile, note the overgrown foliage like you can see in the second picture.

Today the entrance has changed little though now clear of the plant that was there.

 This part here used to be the superintendents flat with the steps leading to the entrance door there, the bay window would have been his sitting room and the whole three floors belonged to him. I suspect the basement may have been his personal kitchen

This is how it looked when I went round in 2010 with Nigel, a sad shadow of it's former self. BTW we turned the hard hats round as the peek gets in the way of the camera.

This is what the flat looked like inside, many of the original features still in place,

Like the plaster work for the light fittings.

He also had his own entrance in the building.

This area which is below the superintendents flat I'm told was the original kitchen though there is little to tell you this and I'm afraid I did not go back to see what the place looked like stripped out.

This was the reception when I went round in 2010 though it is nothing like I remember it as a youngster coming round here. There used to be a porter who greeted you and a there was a switch board maned by Gerrard Wyatt.

A few months later and the place had been removed leaving the original corridors either side.

But look the the other way and the entrance doors were still there.

Outside was a scene of devastation with only one of the original buildings being left standing  the long corridor which had been added was removed.

The front underwent as change from this.

To this where they were removing all old additions to the place.

A sales office appeared.

Along with a large fence hiding the place in mystery.

Then being lost in scaffolding. 

It was well worth going up the tower for the view though

And to look down at the oval itself.

The area behind also took on a new look.

Soon enough the scaffold was removed and we started to see the old building appear again.

Then just before Christmas 2012 the fence was gone and we had the old place back again.

 With the addition of a sculpture of flying swans
The door my father was stood in front of was still there

 The fencing has all gone now

and you could walk up to the door where my Father was stood

The front had changed but if you look you can see the light is back on the front again

The new flats and now being sold and soon people will be living there.


  1. So much history there. These are great pictures, Bill!

  2. Thanks, I think some will be used in an exhibition later this year.

  3. wow!! what incredible photos! and what rich history...
    I bet the historical society loves you!!!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  4. As I'm part of what passes for one you could say they do. Thanks for following and see if you can round up some more.

  5. Well done again for recording this building's history. I am pleased they haven't changed the frontage too much and left the character of the building intact. It's good that it is being brought back to life again.

    1. It's getting there though for me it is finding the time to visit and record what is happening

  6. A wonderful post. Well Done. I think it is great that you have captured the changes.

    1. I try but I'm sure I missed a bit along the way but at least there is a record of before and after now