‘Tiles are part of our national culture and tradition’

HERITAGE Ann Griffiths next to the Little Boy Blue tile
HERITAGE Ann Griffiths next to the Little Boy Blue tile

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THE rescue and restoration of the ten Doulton nursery rhyme tile panels from Havant War Memorial Hospital is a success story.

It involved the public, the NHS, the new owners of the hospital building, The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre and the Hampshire Museums Service.

Local residents have always been involved with the hospital, which was built by public subscription and first opened in 1929.

Wings were added as more money was raised and these were built by the Carrell family, who were still connected with the hospital’s League of Friends when the hospital closed in 2011.

To commemorate King George V’s Silver Jubilee, a silver fund was opened to raise money for a Children’s Jubilee Ward, which was modelled on the St Thomas’s Hospital children’s ward with its Doulton nursery rhyme tile panels.

William Rowe, one of Doulton’s chief artists, was chosen to design ten smaller panels for the Havant hospital and these brightened up the stay for the young patients after the ward opened in July 1936.

In later years it became a ward for the elderly and when the hospital closed people of all ages felt the tiles were not just part of Havant’s heritage but also part of our national culture and tradition.

This is why, now that they have been beautifully restored by Shropshire tile conservationists, it is so important that they are put on public display at The Spring this August and again in the future.

There is an appeal to raise £4,500 for specially made plinths to display the heavy panels on. To donate text TILE01 £5 to 70070 to donate £5 or pop into The Spring.