A YEAR-LONG project to repair and improve the historic Lord Leycester Hospital in Warwick is underway.
Town mayor Parminder Singh Birdi, accompanied by Warwickshire dignitaries,
attended a ceremony to mark the start of work at the medieval site.
The Lord Leycester, founded as almshouses for ex-servicemen by Robert Dudley a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, has seen £4.5million raised over the past three years to start a “once in a century” restoration and improvement project.
The work will continue throughout the next year with a grand opening to the public planned for next summer.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded almost £2million for the four year renovation and income generating project. The National Lottery grant will be used to transform the landmark High Street building into a modern visitor attraction telling the story of the site, and also of the residents past and present, who have lived there.
Plans include new interpretation throughout the buildings, garden and online, that will enable visitors to explore the heritage through guided tours, trails and displays.
As part of the Heritage Fund project, a calendar of community engagement activities and events are also planned, to once again make the Lord Leycester Hospital a vibrant community hub for the community.
Dr Heidi Meyer, who is the Lord Leycester’s first female master, said: “It has been a long road to get to this point but we could not have done it without local community support and our major funders – we are deeply grateful to them.”
Lord De L’Isle Philip Sidney and Patron of the Lord Leycester added: “The grant will enable us to restore the fabric of our beautiful mediaeval buildings and revitalise the interior to help tell the stories of the masters and brethren who have been at the heart of the hospital for the past four centuries, as well as enabling us to continue to provide homes and community for ex-servicemen in the centuries to come.”
The Lord Leycester Hospital features a collection of grade I and II listed historic buildings that are unique in England.
For over 700 years, these buildings have served the people of Warwick in many ways – as the centre of the town’s medieval guilds and civic governance, a place of education and, from 1571 when Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Elizabeth I’s closest adviser founded a home for military veterans, the master and brethren. The Lord Leycester, which has had a continuous community since the 13th century, is acknowledged as one of the finest authentic examples of a medieval timber-framed building in the British Isles and also one of the most important medieval sites in the world.
During its history, it has attracted royalty, international tourists and local people while also maintaining a philanthropic tradition.