The Great Hospital at Bishopgate

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Text © Copyright Evelyn Simak, January 2020
Images are under a separate Creative Commons Licence.

White Cottages

White Cottages is a single-storey terrace of almshouses. Said to be the oldest such terrace in the hospital grounds, it was built in 1826 of yellow brick with stone dressings. The hipped slate roof has six tall four-shafted brick ridge chimneys. The projecting centre bay has a Tudor-arched ribbed door with drip mould and is flanked by two-light windows under a stepped gable. Some of the adjoining pairs of similar smaller doors to the right and left are now blocked. Like White Cottages, the two yellow brick gate piers with hipped tops and ball finials flanked by dwarf brick walls to the west immediately to the west are Grade 2 listed. Most of these cottages are currently occupied by offices but a couple are still in residential use.

TG2309 : The Great Hospital - White Cottages by Evelyn Simak -- TG2309 : The Great Hospital - White Cottages by Evelyn Simak --  Gt Hospital White Cottages

The East Wards

TG2309 : The Great Hospital - East Wards by Evelyn Simak -- TG2309 : The Great Hospital - East Wards by Evelyn Simak --  Gt Hospital East Wards

The East Wards face the range of White Cottages and date from the 1820s. The single-storey terrace is built from yellow brick and has a slate roof with two brick end chimneys and one ridge stack. The ribbed double-leaf doors are deeply recessed in projecting porches with pediments to right and left. Once wards, the building now accommodates community rooms.

St Helen's House

In 1751 the hospital had appointed Thomas Ivory as 'carpenter', which at that time was an alternative term for an architect, and leased him a plot of land to the west of the hospital proper, on the condition that he would build a house for himself there. The resulting mansion was completed in 1756 and Ivory lived in it until his death in 1779. The Ivory family home is now known as St Helen's House and currently provides eight flats for residents, as well as an elegant function suite available for hire. St Helen's House had in the past also been used as a nursing home run by Norwich Union, and was the first BUPA hospital in Norwich. Two historic rooms are preserved as the Trust Board Rooms. Other buildings in Norwich designed by Ivory include the Assembly House Link and the Octagon Chapel Link and he is documented to also have carried out the Georgian alterations at Blickling Hall. The Ivory family pew can still be seen in St Helen's parish church.

TG2309 : St Helen's House/Great Hospital by Evelyn Simak
This Grade II* listed former house forms part of a sheltered housing and care complex in the grounds of the former Great Hospital at Bishopgate > Link and dates from the 18th century. It was enlarged a century later > Link by William Ivory, one of Thomas Ivory's sons who also became an architect. In 1986, St Helen's House was converted to eight residential flats.
by Evelyn Simak

1884 OS map of the Great Hospital ---->  1884 map Great Hospital

Over time the number of residents increased gradually from 40 in the 1550s to 54 in 1600, and 95 in 1669. By 1749, the hospital accommodated 100 residents as well as a schoolmaster, a master and a gaol chaplain. Due to economic strains caused during the 19th century by the Napoleonic Wars, the lead was removed from the church's chancel and other roofs and sold. With the economy in Norwich much improved by the 1820s, however, the hospital expanded. A sick ward was constructed in 1820, and enlarged in 1889. The building which housed it became known as Spurell's Lodge, named after John Spurrel, who had died in 1762 and in his will left 4 per year to be spent on an annual fest held in August, where strong beer, and if possible, veal were to be provided to each man and woman pauper resident. It was demolished in 1975. Five more cottages were built in 1849. In 1889 more sick wards were constructed, and married couples were for the first time now also admitted. In 1906, a range of twelve more almshouses, designed by the architect Francis Horner, were built and again added on to in 1937 to house married couples. The ward cubicles, however, still offered less space per person than recommended by the authorities in the mid-1940s and both the cottages and the other wards still had shared toilet facilities housed in a separate block. Only in the late 1950s were the cottages eventually provided with toilet facilities.

TG2309 : The Great Hospital - almshouses by Evelyn Simak
This terrace of twelve cottages dating from 1906 has since been demolished. It was replaced by the hospital's most recent development - Holme Terrace > Link.
by Evelyn Simak

Suffield Court

Designed in the archetypal style commonly found in almshouses, Suffield Court was designed by the architect SJ Wearing and dates from 1937. It consists of seventeen dwellings, with the east wing looking out over the swan pit. A bowling green adjoins at front (in the south) and the residents' allotments, including a greenhouse, are situated to the north.

TG2309 : The Great Hospital - old lawn roller by Suffield Court by Evelyn Simak TG2309 : The Great Hospital - sundial on porch by Evelyn Simak TG2309 : The Great Hospital - old lawn roller by Suffield Court by Evelyn Simak -


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