Cranleigh Civic Society – Open Meeting 7th December @ 7pm

(in the band room, includes AGM)

All welcome! Over the last year, Cranleigh Society has worked on Flood Forum, rivers’ and streams’ quality,
roads, footpaths and cycle paths and planning applications. We are able to engage with and have some influence with Parish, Borough and County Councils as well as Health Authorities. Our voice is limited but with help could have more effect. Would you like to get involved? Please join in!

At our meeting we will also explain the progress of the project to save the 15th century cottage at the front of Cranleigh Village hospital. This project is independent of projects to save our beds (CVHT) or to provide money for the working hospital’s equipment (League of Friends) or the work to bring further urgent care services to Cranleigh, somewhere!

What would you like to see the cottage used for?

Here is an article by local published historian Chris Budgen:

Where in England can you find some of the origins of the NHS? Certainly in Cranleigh!

Cranleigh Village Hospital
My first acquaintance with the hospital, this building so in need of care, was at the age of four. Childhood ailments meant regular trips to the hospital to be examined in the old cottage part of the site. Familiarity with the medical profession at so young an age could be intimidating but somehow the old cottage softened any concerns and seemed to welcome us into its fold. You see, it was OUR hospital.

Time moved on, schooling in the building across the road – now the Arts Centre – made the old cottage a familiar and welcome backdrop. A child at that school complained of severe stomach ache and – because of its proximity – was walked across to the hospital where acute peritonitis was diagnosed and dealt with, a swift result for what could have been a life threatening situation. That boy was soon back with us, none the worse for wear. You see, it was OUR hospital.

The village hospital in 1917 with nurses standing at the front

Boys will be boys. Building sites in the village were irresistible magnets for adventures and almost inevitably seemed to result in a nail through the sole of someone’s foot. Yet although painful, we knew that a quick trip to the hospital would see the nail removed, the foot patched, a strident ticking off the least of our cares. You see, it was OUR hospital. When my grandmother, a Cranleigh girl most of her life, fell and broke a bone too many; it was the hospital that cared for her until her death. My mother’s last days were spent here too, slowly dying amongst her own rather than in some faceless establishment miles distant. You see, it was OUR hospital.

The constant threats of closure during the 1970s and 80s met with instant responses from Cranleigh people, who, acting as one, denounced such actions. You see, it was THEIR hospital. The old cottage has fronted our hospital through thick and thin, wars and depressions; it was a symbol of solidity, of permanence, redolent with the care that Cranleigh people have for each other. From priest’s cottage to the first cottage hospital in England, this cottage has represented all that is good about society.

Chris Budgen
Local Historian and Author

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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