A view of the Village Hospital in 1929
Would you leave any of Cranleigh’s oldest buildings to rot? NO? we thought not! Then please help to raise the noise and indignation about those that fall into disrepair. Perhaps Surrey County Council, and our MP Angela Richardson and the Councillors and Officers at Cranleigh and Waverley will hear, listen, react, respond and PUT THINGS RIGHT – why? Our history, a sense of longevity of local village life, the ways of the past, are all crucial to our sense of belonging, we share in this together.
Cranleigh has a few very old buildings, some on the north side of the High Street, in the centre of the Village. To the south of the High Street there is a unique building – Grade II listed and of historical importance, it is the old part of Cranleigh Village Hospital which was built as a cottage by St. Nicholas Church in 1446 and is one of the finest timber framed buildings of its type in Surrey.
The old operating room taken in 1903
In 1859 it was used in an emergency to allow Dr Napper, a local GP, to operate on a fellow who had to have his leg amputated. The Church gifted the cottage to Cranleigh Doctors to be used as a Cottage hospital – the first in England. Later, people in Cranleigh fund-raised to build the more modern parts bit by bit. After the second world war the NHS was formed and the entire site was gifted to the NHS in 1948. The buildings are now under the care of NHS Properties. There is just one Officer responsible for around 80 buildings in Surrey, and he has to interact with around 250 occupiers. Add Covid-19 urgent changes and it is easy to see that maintenance of old buildings are not on his mind – or weren’t. Waverley Borough Councillors and officers have managed to get some urgent repairs done, but much more needs to happen as the hospital is still deteriorating.
Wouldn’t it be great if we had a dedicated entrance to a renovated and cared for building, and could use it as a museum, for special meetings – perhaps with a mental health aspect – and ensure this precious old building is preserved and loved into the future? What do you think? Please let us know.