Nursery rhyme tiles go on view

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IT’S taken two years but historic tiles which were in danger of being lost forever are finally on public display.

The 10 large Royal Doulton nursery rhyme tiles were commissioned for the children’s ward of Havant War Memorial Hospital.

Debbie Barton (box office maneger) with the nursery rhyme tiles exhibition at 'The Spring' in Havant

Debbie Barton (box office maneger) with the nursery rhyme tiles exhibition at 'The Spring' in Havant

But when it shut its doors two years ago there was a risk the tiles would have to stay on the walls of the building because they were so heavy and expensive to remove.

Then the NHS cut a deal with the developer who bought the building.

The developer paid for them to be carefully removed and restored and they are now on display at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, in Havant.

Director of The Spring Sophie Fullerlove said: ‘We’re delighted to have them here.

‘It has been a long campaign by the community and we’re pleased that their future is now secured.

‘They mean a lot to people in the local area and lots of people have been coming in and telling us about times they were in the hospital.

‘They remember looking at them on the walls.

‘They are a very important part of Havant’s heritage.’

Local businesses and members of the public helped pay for the plinths that all 10 have been displayed on.

The exhibition runs until October 25.

After that only three of the tiles will stay at the centre and the others will go to Hampshire Museum Service.

A celebration will be held to thank everyone involved in securing the tiles.

At the event, on September 6, people will be able to vote for which tiles they want to keep.

In the coming years all the tiles will go on display at some point.

The Havant War Memorial Hospital opened in 1929, commemorating the local people who lost their lives in the First World War.

Seven years later, in 1936, the children’s ward opened.

Above the beds were specially made panels of Royal Doulton tiles, each depicting a different nursery rhyme, designed by William Rowe.

Each panel contains 24 ceramic tiles and weighs 40kg.