A GOODWILL gesture could save the much-loved antique tiles at Havant’s doomed War Memorial Hospital.
The Farren family, who run Jago Developments in Chichester, have offered to arrange for the safe removal of the nursery rhyme tiles so they can be preserved forever at Havant’s museum.
Colin Farren, 54, from Emsworth, decided to step in after reading about the plight of the tiles in The News.
As previously reported, the hospital will close next month and is set to be sold to developers to pay for Havant’s new Oak Park Community Clinic.
But the Royal Doulton tiles in the children’s ward could be lost as NHS Hampshire says it could cost between £10,000 and £20,000 just to remove the tiles from the walls intact.
But the Farrens, who have worked on restoration work at The King’s Theatre in Southsea, believe it could be done more cheaply.
Laura Farren, 25, said they wanted to help as her late grandfather Donald Farren stayed at the hospital for many years following an accident.
She said: ‘It would be nice to save the tiles just from a local person’s point of view and the connection with our family.
‘Havant gets a little bashed around and they don’t tend to look after these things.
‘It was the final straw for my dad. They are a lovely thing that hospitals do not have anymore. They just don’t build things like that anymore and it’s part of local history.’
Meanwhile, the bid to save the tiles has been backed by Ann Dalby, who was the clinical manager at the hospital from 1992 to 2000.
Mrs Dalby, of Hurstville Drive, Waterlooville, said: ‘For them to end up in a skip would be a tragedy.’
Jago Developments is now in talks with NHS Hampshire about possible ways of saving the tiles.
Inger Hebden, director of capital planning, said: ‘We know that the nursery rhyme tiles at the hospital are valued sentimentally and are carefully considering the suggestions that have been made about their future.
‘We have written to relevant organisations asking them if they have any suggestions.
‘It’s important to establish the financial value of the tiles and we are getting specialist auctioneers to do this for us. It will cost between £10,000 and £20,000 to remove them intact, so if they have value it needs to cover the cost of the removal.
‘We’re looking into the possibility of removing one panel and installing it in the new nursing centre at Oak Park.’