New proposals to find money for repairing crumbling hospital

By Martin Neville

Saturday, February 8, 2014

 

New proposals to find money for repairing crumbling hospital

Frank James Memorial Hospital.

A RESPECTED Victorian architect could hold the key to unlocking cash required to save crumbling Frank James Memorial Hospital.

Friends of Frank James hope to tap into new funding by persuading English Heritage (EH) to upgrade the historic building’s listed status from Grade II to Grade II* or even Grade I.

They are pinning their hopes on architect John Thomas Micklethwaite (1843-1906), surveyor of the fabric at Westminster Abbey in the late 19th century, who is also believed to have worked on the hospital.

Micklethwaite, a pupil of George Gilbert Scott, worked in partnership with architects Somers Clarke around the time Frank James was designed. He designed several notable churches.

Ian Pickard, of the Friends and a chartered surveyor, said: "If, as we believe, Micklethwaite worked on Frank James, then it is probably one of only a handful, if not possibly the only, secular building he designed."

Mr Pickard said EH offered £10 million grants to 191 Grade I and Grade II* listed buildings last year.

The hospital, built as a seaman’s mission, was put on the conservation body’s list of buildings which it felt are "at risk", having suffered from years of neglect.

A higher grade of listed status could make restoration more difficult but that had to be weighed against potential grants, Mr Pickard added.

"Given Frank James has been standing empty and abandoned for ten years, I don’t believe we have much option, unless the owners are prepared to fund the entire costs of restoration themselves, which is extremely unlikely."

The owners of the building were not aware of the Friends’ intentions but there was no obligation to inform them, he said.

The Friends plan to submit a bid to EH in the next few weeks.

The Friends’ gardening sessions to tidy up the site will mark its second anniversary in March.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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by Tanja Rebel

11th February 2014, at 11:27:20

Dear Baz,

You are cordially invited to come to Frank James on the 2nd of March. You might just be blown away by the beauty of this building! If you think not, then by all means give it a miss. However, in that case, I suggest that you perhaps give further negative comments a miss as well.

The Friends of Frank James are people who want to do something contructive. If you cannot care to join them then perhaps you can start a constructive project elsewhere. Plenty of good causes around...

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by Baz Taylor

11th February 2014, at 10:46:22

"Further to my last comment; if required, much more information on our work and the Frank James Memorial Hospital is easily found on the net"

I'll give that a miss, thanks.

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by Baz Taylor

11th February 2014, at 10:46:16

"Further to my last comment; if required, much more information on our work and the Frank James Memorial Hospital is easily found on the net"

I'll give that a miss, thanks.

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by Steven Goodman

10th February 2014, at 23:21:03

Further to my last comment; if required, much more information on our work and the Frank James Memorial Hospital is easily found on the net.

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by Steven Goodman

10th February 2014, at 23:16:35

As requested, an answer for 'all ears' Baz; pin back your lugholes, & open your eyes for the enlightenment & delight you seek. In the building we have not done much other than a little cleaning & tidying, unlike the vandals & thieves. It is not yet a derelict ruin, but solid & viable, as I wrote earlier. I also wrote that no trespassing is involved. Nor is any activity more dangerous than gardening, litterpicking, or being in other public spaces similar to the FJ grounds. We are trying to achieve a better outcome than the waste & despair arising from the neglect of the owners & authorities. Particularly notable missed opportunities were failing to sell on when a true 'white knight' saviour appeared, & failing to use the FJ site when the new health centre was built nearby. The building is now most likely to be saved by conversion for multiple residential use, with some additional new build in the grounds. A single discerning resident would be preferable.

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by Keven Ball

10th February 2014, at 17:03:27

In that case Neil you can go down and show your support on the 02/03/2014!

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by Baz Taylor

10th February 2014, at 12:41:10

JA-D: ....and I bet there will be just as many that would like to see the end of it!

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by Joshua Aitken - Dunkeld

10th February 2014, at 12:28:51

Thank you for those with the supportive comments. Baz if your so keen to 'knock' this outstanding peice I history down maybe you could ask the population of the Isle of Wight to see what they think? I'm sure you'd get a different response to that of what you were looking for. Everyone is welcome on March 2nd! :)

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by Keven Ball

10th February 2014, at 11:15:13

Good luck to you and everyone who takes part C Ryan-Sammon, fingers crossed!

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by C Ryan-Sammon

10th February 2014, at 11:12:22

I'm a Friend of Frank James and though, due to my health issues, I cant do anything other than send emails to show my support and visit the site to see how they are getting on, I can say they are doing a great job to keep the old building for our heritage. I would like to see it as homes for young adults and a Holistic Healing Centre maybe, there is enough support and enough people willing to get stuck in, just being held back by red tape.
I will be showing my support by visiting the site on Sunday March the 2nd to wish them and the building well.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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