What has happened to the nation’s war memorial hospitals?

Whitby Civic Society members set up a war memorial group with the main aim of keeping the Whitby & District War Memorial Cottage Hospital memory alive, particularly as there was a risk the second hospital on this site was to be sold either partially or fully. The Society is hoping now at least a smaller hospital will be retained on this site, with the rest of the site sold to be developed for extra care housing – no definite decision has been made at this time. We continue to work with the relevant authorities to ensure the remaining artefacts are not lost, and hope to raise a further memorial sculpture to remember all those lost as well as the people who ensured there was a memorial hospital built in Whitby, although it no longer bears this name.

But now Whitby Civic Society wants to know;

  • What has happened to other war memorial hospitals around the country?
  • Does anyone know how many were built following the First World War and how many still remain today?
  • Why were these buildings never registered as public war memorials as perhaps these were our greatest living and working war memorials ever created?
  • They were provided for the town and surrounding parishes with funds raised through donation and fundraising events from the local community, many which could ill afford the small amounts donated after this horrific war. Many of these buildings have now been demolished and sold on, losing both a local welfare facility plus the original war memorial – surely this is totally unethical?

In 1948, with the advent of the National Health Service, the land and buildings were taken as part of the new NHS, many of which have since been closed and the land sold for development – was this ethical, and what has happened to any war memorial plaques and artefacts – how many have been lost?

In 2013 NHS Property Services was established and has raised more than £203million from the disposal of 295 surplus NHS properties, generating valuable funds to be reinvested in the NHS estate, during its first 5 years of operation. Many of the sites were empty and all were no longer needed for clinical or any other use, however, they did require ongoing NHS funds for property related costs such as rates, security and basic maintenance. It is noted sales can only take place once the organisations and commissioners that plan and pay for local healthcare declare an empty property surplus to NHS requirements, but what happens to the war memorial artefacts?

If you can help Whitby Civic Society with these queries send your comments to info@civicvoice.org.uk.

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What has happened to the nation’s war memorial hospitals?

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