MUCH-LOVED tiles at Havant’s doomed War Memorial Hospital look set to be saved from destruction.
NHS Hampshire plans to create a covenant when it sells the hospital that will stop developers removing the tiles and disposing of them.
The agreement will mean the Royal Doulton nursery rhyme tiles – a fixture on the walls of children’s ward since 1936 – will have to be removed intact if any developer wants to demolish the old hospital.
Inger Hebden, director of capital planning at NHS Hampshire, also wants to stipulate in the covenant that the tiles must be stored in a museum or other public venue if they are to be removed.
The pledge comes as there are now just a few weeks until the hospital closes for good and is put on the market to help fund Havant’s new Oak Park Community Clinic.
David Willetts, Havant MP, has thrown his support behind saving the tiles.
He said: ‘They are a rather important part of our local history.
‘I’m keen to have them properly preserved and protected.
‘They’re beautiful tiles telling the story of children’s nursery rhymes.’
NHS Hampshire says the cost of removing the tiles could be up to £20,000, but the covenant would mean developers, rather than the public, would have to foot the bill.
Mrs Hebden said: ‘At the moment we don’t have a home for them.
‘What Mr Willetts is doing is making some inquiries to see if he can help us find a home, then we could include that in the deed of covenant. We want to make sure we can preserve them.’