Friends find their answer on the wall

By Sara Bryce

Sunday, March 9, 2014

 

Friends find their answer on the wall

With the plans for the Frank James Hospital in St Mary’s Hospital are, from left, Josh Aitken, Steve Goodman and Tanja Rebel.

THE answer had been staring them in the face as the Friends of Frank James Memorial Hospital desperately tried to prove the crumbling building was designed by the architect behind Westminster Abbey.

The proof the group had been searching for — that renowned Victorian architect John Thomas Micklethwaite had a hand in designing the East Cowes building — was found hanging on the wall of St Mary’s Hospital.

The discovery was made by Josh Aitken, 16, while visiting his best friend in hospital.

He said: "I was walking along looking at the plans on the wall by the canteen and I saw them. I couldn’t speak I was just so gobsmacked.

"His name was so bold and so clear, right there on the plans. The proof had been hanging there all this time."

It was hoped if Micklethwaite’s involvement could be proved, it could lead to an upgraded listed status from Grade II to Grade II* or even Grade I, which would unlock access to money for restoration.

Friend of the hospital Ian Pickard said: "Potentially English Heritage (EH) will now take a much greater interest in the building.

"It highlights Frank James as being not just historically important for the IW but historically important for the nation."

EH’s principal inspector of historic buildings and areas, David Brock, said an upgraded listing would not mean IW Council planners would lose control over the building but it would have to consult with EH.

He added 93 per cent of listed buildings were Grade II, with just seven per cent achieving Grade II* or Grade I.

The Friends of Frank James will wait until the building’s owners submit the latest plans, due at the end of March, before submitting an application to upgrade the listed status.

Reporter: sarab@iwcpmail.co.uk

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