Lottery grant could help to save cherished hospital tiles

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LOTTERY funding could help save historic nursery rhyme tiles at Havant’s War Memorial Hospital.

The community is rallying round to organise a detailed application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for up to £25,000.

It comes as a question mark still hangs over the tiles’ future as the old hospital is up for sale.

The rare Royal Doulton tiles in the former children’s ward date back to 1936.

NHS Hampshire, which owns the site, was planning to put a covenant on the building so that any developer would have to pay for the removal of the tiles and donate them to The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in Havant.

But with no news about a buyer, residents want to get the ball rolling as soon as possible on a rescue plan.

Kate Turner, chairman of residents forum Havant and Bedhampton Community First, is meeting with NHS Hampshire official Inger Hebden this week for an update to see if a buyer has come forward.

She said: ‘We will go ahead with a Heritage Lottery bid if nothing has happened. Our real concern is it could take many months and there is going to be vandalism.’

She added: ‘Part of the bid would be that the tiles were accessible to the people of Havant. The Spring would arrange a series of exhibitions in conjunction with us. The only way the bid will be successful is if the community is involved.

‘Everybody wants to make sure the tiles are saved for posterity.’

Mrs Turner is keen to hear from any resident who would like the tiles to be saved and their own personal stories as it could help with the application bid. Email savethehavanttiles@hotmail.co.uk