Heritage centre in hospital grounds is one step closer

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HISTORIANS charged with telling the colourful history of a former hospital have told of their excitement at having a heritage centre.

In years to come the former Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport will be transformed to house hundreds of people.

Eric Birbeck MVO and his team at Haslar Heritage Group are working to make sure none of the history is lost – and will have a heritage centre in the grounds.

He said: ‘The history is very deep and rich.

‘There’s a story to tell about the hospital.

‘Even now we deal with a myriad of questions from around the world.’

As reported, Mr Birbeck helped Canadian author Pat Taylor with his latest book.

The eight-strong heritage team are due to move into the former Medical Supplies Agency building, built in 1756.

It was one of the founding buildings of the hospital.

They will have an archive, library, offices and meeting room upstairs in the building.

Open space downstairs will allow room exhibitions.

Developer Our Enterprise is behind the scheme transforming the hospital, which was completed in 1762.

Pat Power, from the firm, said: ‘It’s steeped in history so it’s only proper that would be recognised and shared.

‘There’s no shortage of stories from the site.

‘It’s an integral part of society down in that part of the world.’

It comes as a huge £100m scheme will create 600 homes and around 1,000 jobs.

Outline planning permission was granted by Gosport Borough Council in July.

Under those plans there will be a 78-bed hotel, 286 homes, a retirement community with a 60-bed care home and 244 self-contained retirement units.

There will also be offices and business units on the site.

Mr Birbeck is particularly excited about the move as last month marks 50 years of his involvement with the hospital.

He started as a probationary sick berth attendant on September 30, 1964.

‘Fifty years ago I stepped through the gates and I never really parted from it since,’ he said.

‘During that time I’ve come to learn about its history.’

Interpretation boards will explain the hospital’s history as part of the heritage group’s plans for the site.

As reported, the hospital was sold to Our Enterprise for £3m after a major campaign was launched to save it.