Historic Havant Hospital tiles can have a permanent home

STORY Two of the tiles at Havant War Memorial Hospital
STORY Two of the tiles at Havant War Memorial Hospital
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A MUSEUM says it will permanently house cherished nursery rhyme tiles from Havant War Memorial Hospital.

The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, which is home to the town’s museum, has offered to put them on display.

As reported in The News, the Royal Doulton tiles have been a fixture on the walls of the children’s ward at the hospital since 1936.

But their future has been thrown into doubt as the hospital, in Cross Way, is set to close this week forever.

The building is being put up for sale and could be demolished by any developer that buys the site.

NHS Hampshire, which owns the building, has agreed to create a covenant meaning the tiles have to be removed intact if the building is bulldozed. But until now there has been no place to put the tiles.

Museum officer Kate Saunders said The Spring wanted to act after seeing how passionate people in Havant are about the tiles.

She said: ‘There’s been a lot of public pressure to do something. People are interested in preserving them and we are the local museum after all. We had a look round to see what we could do. We had to find enough space.

‘People have been fighting very hard to keep that heritage.’

The tiles would be given pride of place in the theatre gallery.

Inger Hebden, director of capital planning at NHS Hampshire, said: ‘It’s good news. It definitely makes life easier if there’s a local organisation saying we will take them. It tidies up that loose end.’

Mrs Hebden is still waiting for a specialist valuer to tell her how much the tiles are worth, but says it could cost the NHS up to £20,000 to remove the tiles from the walls intact. It means it is probably more likely a developer would pay for the removal of the tiles.

A meeting to discuss future plans for the tiles has been arranged for Thursday, October 13.

The meeting, which includes Mrs Hebden, community leaders and residents’ groups, will take place in the Langstone Room of The Spring and starts at 2pm.