General Hospital to general housing

The last three years has seen big changes to Nelson Street and Green Street as a result of the redevelopment of the General Hospital site, first known as Hereford General Infirmary, to form over 80 dwellings. With the sale of the old Porter’s Lodge at the bottom of Mill Street at the end of last year, Laing Homes work was complete and management of the site passed to the residents of the development and land agents Trinity Estates.

The foundation stone for the Hereford Infirmary was laid in 1781 and the building opened to less ceremony in 1783. Seen as elegant at the time, and remaining so, the plans included eleven wards, physicians' rooms, apothecary, laundry and staff quarters.

The 1785 diagram shows an imposing building of three storeys, with a roof pediment. The main building had wings on either side with a single storey flat roof running out to two storey pitched roof outlying buildings. The outlier to the north east accommodated porter and kitchens. The lodge to south west included a wash house and a brew house and even a brewery. Apparently, beer was a requirement for both staff, and, on prescription, for patients.

In 1834 the ground floor wings were raised another storey, the first of many extensions. In 1865 a new lodge was built on the land between the Infirmary and Castle Green, which included the site of the former Castle Mill and was near the passage of the old town ditch. Between 1887 and 1888 a new two storey block was added to the north west end of the building. The new extension, Victoria Ward, was funded by an appeal to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee.

We hope that Trinity Estates will take its responsibilities for this Grade 2 Listed landmark seriously, including the gardens and trees, as the building has been a part of the riverside architecture and City views for nigh on 225 years. Joe Nicholas

Reference: Renton 1999 ‘The Story of Herefordshire’s Hospitals, Longaston Press.

Posted: Tue - May 1, 2007 at 08:29 AM