A Brief History of our Site
We're very privileged to live on historic Standard Hill, Nottingham, where King Charles I famously raised his standard at the beginning of the Civil War in 1642.
The event is commemorated by a small plaque in the road just outside the listed gates and on one of the walls of the buildings opposite.
Our site actually occupies what was originally the North Bailey of the Castle. The road below Royal Standard House (Lenton Lane) was cut through the rock in the early 19th century to give access from the town to the former Castle Park cutting off Standard Hill from the Castle.
The General Hospital
In the late 18th century Nottingham’s first hospital was built here following a bequest from Banker John Keys. It relied on private donations and public subscription. The Duke of Newcastle and the Nottingham Corporation each gave an acre of land. The formal opening of the first hospital building in September 1782 was a major event in Nottingham.
The hospital in the 1790s.
You can still see the original building in the Arena area today. There were initially 44 cast iron beds.
All patients had to obtain a letter of recommendation signed by a hospital subscriber. If a patient died, the subscriber was responsible for removing the corpse.
In 1854-5 the famous local architect TC Hine added a storey, the clock and the chapel at the side. This picture shows the new storey and is from 1895
The Jubilee Wing was a round ward block built in 1902 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee . It was designed by Alfred Waterhouse (also responsible for the old Prudential Building on King/Queen Street).
It's now the Roundhouse pub.
The hospital was home to numerous injured soldiers during the First World War (1917 right). This is the view from where City Point is now located.
Three tennis courts for the nurses used to be situated in what is now the open area of the Arena but were given up for the construction of the state of the art Trent Wing opened by Sir Keith Joseph in 1972.
This building had nine floors and towered above the old eighteenth century building, but there was no other land to build on.
The Trent Wing, considered an eyesore, was demolished after the closure of the hospital.
The General was a very well known and respected facility until 1992 when the majority of services transferred to the Queen’s Medical Centre. The site had literally run out of space.
Royal Standard House, designed by Frederick Evans & Sons of Highbury Vale is Grade II listed and was originally the Nurses' Home - known as Memorial House
There were many problems in laying the foundation stones because of the different site levels, old wells and caves in the rock. During excavations the remains of the Outer Bailey Wall of the Old Castle, built in 1252 were uncovered in several places.
It was built by public subscription and opened by the Prince of Wales in 1923. Built of high quality brick, limestone and Westmorland slate it was originally named Memorial House as a memorial to those who gave their lives in the First World War.
Is this now your lounge?
Nurses, who had to be single, were obliged to ‘live in’ under strict house rules.
Supper was at 8pm sharp and only nurses on their weekly half day off were allowed out at night – they had to be back in at 10pm (even in the 60s!).
The Lenton Road frontage of Memorial House
Memorial House looking down from the Trent Building in the 80s
Regeneration and Preservation
In 1990 a master plan for the site was produced in consultation with the City Council and designs were drawn up by local architects, Crampin & Pring.
Dealing with the sandstone 'caves' on the site - these were filled in with lakes of concrete!
Crosby Homes acquired part of the site for conversion to residential buildings. Memorial House was converted into apartments in 1999. City Point was subsequently built on the site of an old ward block in 2000 on a cliff-top position looking over The Park.
The plans allowed for a mixture of business, residential and retail.
The Standard Hill Consortium was created to manage the whole site including the arena public space, Harts, Hotel, various offices, the remaining hospital buildings and the Roundhouse.
Finally after much debate and consultation about building heights and the preservation of views around the Castle, the Arena apartments were completed in 2003.
With thanks to Pictures of the Past for the use of their photos
Some Interesting Links
B/W photos of the old General Hospital on YouTube
Colour photos of he old General Hospital on YouTube
If you want to know more about life at the General Hospital we recommend:-
‘Nottingham General Hospital: Personal reflections’
by John Bittiner and David Lowe.