On Tuesday 29 December 1891 a purpose-built cottage hospital was officially opened in Ledbury by Lady Elizabeth Biddulph.
It was funded by her husband, Mr Michael Biddulph MP, to mark the coming of age of their eldest son, Mr John Michael Biddulph.
The total cost of land and buildings was around £3,000. Accommodation included three wards, rooms for the Matron, an operating theatre, a mortuary, laundry and a separate apartment for a parish nurse.
By 1899, annual expenditure was £247 with the average cost per patient stay of 3s 7d per day. Income was made up of subscriptions, donations, income from investments, charity boxes, church offertories and patient payments. The building was extended in the 1920s and again in the 1930s.
On 27 March 1948 the 74th – and final – Report was presented by the Hospital’s Chairman, Mr Charles Masefield, at the Annual Meeting. From 1948 the Hospital continued to operate under the NHS until it was replaced by a new facility in 2002.
In 2005 it passed into the hands of English Partnerships, the Government’s Regeneration Agency, in 2005 as part of its £300m Hospital Sites Programme.
The £1m Ledbury Cottage Hospital refurbishment project was formally launched on 29 March 2006 when the Ledbury & Area Development Trust started to work closely with English Partnerships, and Advantage West Midlands to bring the old Cottage Hospital back into use for the benefit of the community.
The refurbishment was carried out by C J Bayliss (Hereford) Ltd.
More than 100 people turned up to celebrate the completion of the refurbishment on Wednesday 29 January 2009 – with the Mayor, Cllr Keith Francis, leading the occasion.
West Midland’s Regional Award Winner
Ledbury & Area Development Trust (LADT) was named as the winner of the West Midlands Region Market Towns Award for 2009 for the Old Cottage Hospital Studios project.
These Awards are part of the National Awards run by Action for Market Towns which each year celebrate the great variety of community projects that are helping to regenerate and sustain small towns throughout the country.
The Awards were presented at a ceremony at the Old Cottage Hospital on Tuesday 28 July 2009 by Carol Chapman, Board Member, Action for Market Towns who said:
“The opening of the Old Cottage Hospital Studios has enabled LADT to pass its ‘credibility apprenticeship’ in the town and be seen as an organisation working for the community, and making a positive difference.”