Arts and Crafts Nottingham Hospital Chapel features on Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings list 2024

St Luke’s Chapel in the grounds of Nottingham City Hospital is on The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings List 2024. The 1902 Grade II listed church designed by Arthur Marshall is currently used as a store.

Arts and Crafts Nottingham Hospital Chapel features on Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings list 2024

Photo credit: Ian Wells

Griff Rhys Jones, Victorian Society President, said: ‘Any hospital must have room for a place of repose and meditation. Especially one that historically had such charm and distinction and such a beautiful interior. I urge the authorities to look again and see this chapel anew. We must work to recognise, preserve and restore its outstanding history for the future.’

This remarkable Arts and Crafts chapel was built as part of the Bagthorpe Workhouse, for the use of inmates and staff. Later the workhouse infirmary became the City Hospital. Until the mid-1980s the chapel was opened daily for private use by patients, staff and visitors. It was decided to close the chapel in 1988 when a new chapel on the main corridor of the City Hospital was opened. It has been used subsequently by the hospital as a store.

Almost lost on this vast site, this chapel is dedicated to St Luke, the apostle who was a physician. It is a beautiful, idiosyncratic building, but now overlooked amidst the sprawl and flurry of a major city hospital. Paradoxically, within 100 metres is the splendid – and equally idiosyncratic – contemporary Maggie’s Centre, designed by Piers Gough. The chapel interior was intact as recently as 2009 and featured a Baroque-style pulpit and baluster-stemmed lectern. The white altar rails had turned balusters, and there was a font towards the rear. In addition, there used to be a painting on the west wall by L. Pompignali of Florence, who copied a 16th-century triptych of the crucifixion by Pietro Perugino.

Since 2009 the interior has been largely stripped of its furnishings. Photographs of the interior prior to the removal of its fixtures and fittings can be viewed here. We encourage the hospital to bring St Luke’s – a glorious purpose-built space – back for its intended use. Alternatively, a sympathetic new use that ensures the long-term use and maintenance of the building is required.

James Hughes, Director of the Victorian Society, said: ‘This must be one of the most extraordinary hospital chapels anywhere. And it is used – as far as it is used – as a store. The longer the building goes without a sustainable purpose, the higher the cost of securing its fabric, and the greater the eventual burden will be on the NHS. Doing nothing is not an option. A building this remarkable deserves a proper use.’

The full Top Ten list 2024 can be read here and includes a requisitioned school where author Vera Brittain nursed during WWI, the last of one of the world’s first purpose-built amusement parks, a banqueting hall for the workers, one of the first tennis pavilions in the world, and a building where the first £1m cheque was signed. The listed buildings include a Scheduled Monument and two Grade II*- listed buildings

The list is based on public nominations from across England and Wales, and the buildings selected represent industrial, religious, domestic, and civic architecture from across the nation with unique historical and community significance and value. Nominated buildings must be dated between 1837 and 1914. The Victorian Society has announced its list of Top Ten Endangered buildings fourteen times.

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