Timeline – CFA Voysey And The Winsford Cottage Hospital

1857 Charles Francis Annesley Voysey born at Hessle, Yorkshire.

1859 Cranley (later Cranleigh) Village Hospital in Surrey established by a doctor, Mr Alfred Napper in a converted cottage. This is generally considered to be the first of the enduring Cottage Hospitals.

1869 Voysey’s father, an Anglican minister, charged with heresy.

1874 May. C F A Voysey articled to J P Seddon, a Gothic Revival architect.

1877 Publication of Henry Charles Burdett’s The Cottage Hospital: Its Origin, Progress, Management and Work. This was to go through new editions in 1880 and 1896.

1879 C F A Voysey worked as an assistant to Henry Saxon Snell (1830-1904), who specialised in the design of hospitals and charitable institutions.

1879 Halwill and Beaworthy station opened about a mile away from old Halwill village. It was on the extension of the London and SW railway line from Meldon Junction to Holsworthy on the Okehampton to Plymouth line to Holsworthy on the new Bude Branch.

1880 1st May. British Medical Journal. Mr Linnington Ash was the Medical Officer of Health for Holsworthy Rural District in 1879. He later became the Consulting Physician to the Winsford Hospital.

‘HOLSWORTHY RURAL DISTRICT.- Mr. Linnington Ash makes a long and unusually interesting report on this district for 1879, and his tables are useful and complete. Many arrears of sanitary work will need to be overcome before the district can be regarded as a healthy one; for Mr. Ash reports that bad water-supply, drainage, privy accommodation of cottages, are “generally prevalent” throughout the district. Doubtless these insanitary conditions account in a great measure for the very high death-rate of the district – 21.2 per 1,000. Of the total of two hundred deaths, twenty occurred from zymotic diseases; viz., nine from diphtheria or diphtheritic croup, three from diarrhoea, and one from each of the others except small-pox. Pulmonary diseases caused nearly one-third of the total deaths, tubercular diseases, (including phthisis) nearly a sixth, and bronchitis another sixth. Sixty of the deaths were those of children under five years: an unduly high proportion for a rural and sparsely peopled district like Holsworthy. The account of an epidemic of diphtheria, which killed nine persons and was chiefly spread by attendance at the village schools, is interesting and instructive.’

1881 C F A Voysey establishes his own practice.

1882-4 C F A Voysey designs for a sanatorium for the South Devon Sanatorium Company, Teignmouth, Devon. Unbuilt.

1883 C F A Voysey sold his first wallpaper design to Jeffrey and Co.

1884 C F A Voysey was elected a member of the Art Workers’ Guild.

1885 July. C F A Voysey married Mary Maria Evans.

1887 Halwill Station renamed Halwill Junction with the opening of the North Cornwall Railway line south to Launceston giving the NCR a direct through route to Waterloo over LSWR tracks.

1888 C F A Voysey’s first successful architectural project on his own account, The Cottage, Station Road, Bishop’s Itchington, near Warwick, for Sir Michael Lakin.

1896 New edition of Henry C Burdett’s Cottage Hospitals. Burdett lists all the Cottage Hospitals known to him at this date. There were 12 in Devon.

1898 Unreferenced typescript, the Winsford Trust Archive.
Death of George Webb Medley. His will included a bequest of £1,000 to the Reverend Charles Voysey (father of C F A Voysey) of the Theistic Church, Piccadilly, London.

1899 RIBA Drawings Collection, SB106/VOY[47] Copies held by the Winsford Trust Archive.

Three colourwashed elevations and plans of the hospital by C F A Voysey. One, undated, has perspective N and S elevations, SB106/VOY[47]. There are discrepancies between these and the plan shown and minor differences between both plan and N elevation and the hospital as built. One dated April 27th 1899 is very similar to the above but includes some measurements SB106/VOY[47]. One dated July 1899 signed by M L Medley and ‘M White’, October 1899, is more worked up including drainage. This shows the plan as built including changes to the proportions of the main wards relative to the previous two, SB106/VOY[47].

1900 Plaque on north porch of the building. Inscription stating ‘The Winsford Cottage Hospital erected in memory of George Webb Medley by his wife MLM 1900’.

Devon RO R/A24 Beaworthy Printed report of 1930 to the Charity Commissioners by the hospital trustees notes that the ‘Electric Lighting Plant’ had been renovated ‘after having been in use for 30 years’ suggesting that the hospital had some form of electric light from the outset.

1903 3rd December, Western Morning News.

1905 Winsford Trust Archive.
Photograph of Mr Linnington Ash, the first surgeon at the hospital, seated with four women (one matron, one nurse and two assistants?) and another man, on the verandah.

1906 Kelly’s Directory (1906).
States that Winsford Cottage Hospital was erected in 1899 and has 9 beds. This is the number of beds given in local directories down to 1926.

1906 2nd edition Ordnance Survey Map
This shows the west end ‘extension’ in place.

1914-1919 Inscription in frame in hall.
‘During the great war 1914-1919 this building was established and maintained as a hospital for British sick and wounded’. Unreferenced typescript, the Winsford Trust Archive. During the war 283 soldiers were treated.

1914 December. Watercolour, Winsford Trust Archive Watercolour of the south elevation of the hospital painted by a patient. This shows the west end addition in place and the verandas added to the south ends of the ward projections.

1918 Unreferenced typescript, The Winsford Trust Archive.
Electricity installed in the hospital. [see entry for 1900 above]

1919 Inscription on hall chimneypiece.

Maria Louisa Medley died.

Copy of will of Maria Louisa Medley Webb, Winsford Trust Archive Will made 24th March 1919 with codicil 7th May 1919; will proved 8th November. Hospital bequeathed to her nephew Edward Costin:

I devise and bequeath to my nephew Edward Boyd Costin the piece of land situate at Beaworthy in the county of Devon, with the said Cottage Hospital and buildings which I have erected thereon for the relief of the poor (not being inmates of a workhouse or in receipt of Poor Relief) belonging to the parishes of Halwill, Beaworthy, Ashwater, Black Torrington, Bradford, Cookbury, Clawton, Hollacombe, Holsworthy, Pyeworth, Tetcott, Ashbury, Highampton, and Northlew; all in the county of Devon (the applicants from the first two mentioned parishes being entitled to a preference over applicants from the other hereintofore mentioned parishes) or for the relief of Sailors of His Majesties Fleet, when leaving any naval hospital at Plymouth, Devonport or Stonehouse and requiring convalescent help according and subject to such rules and regulations for the management and government of the said Hospital in force at the time of my death or as shall be thereafter framed by Edward Boyd Costin or by a committee appointed or approved by him with power for the said Edward Boyd Costin or for such committee with his consent during his lifetime and after his death as such committee determine from time to time to alter and vary such rules and regulations whether by me or by such committee as aforesaid and I bequeath the sum of seventeen thousand pounds unto the said Edward Boyd Costin on trust to invest the same in any investments authorised by law for the investment of trust funds and to apply the dividends thereof for the maintenance and support of the said Hospital in such manner as he shall think proper and I declare that the receipt of the said Edward Boyd Costin shall be a sufficient discharge to my trustees for all the monies paid by them And I direct the said Edward Boyd Costin to apply to the Charity Commissioners as soon as he conveniently can after my death for an order vesting the above land hospital and buildings in the Official Trustees of Charity Lands and the said sum of seventeen thousand pounds or the investments representing the same in the Official Trustees of Charitable Funds.

1924 Hitchmough, W., C F A Voysey, 1995, 231 and unreferenced typescript, Winsford Trust Archive.

Hitchmough states that there was an addition to the hospital by Voysey in 1924. Voysey’s expenses book, RIBA drawings and archives collections, VoC/1/1 has a heading in this year ‘additions to Winsford Cottage Hospital, Beaworthy for E.B. Medley Costin’. He records a visit to Beaworthy in March, cost £3 13s 7d, plus 9d for postage. This total was described as ‘paid’ October 23, 1924. Voysey clearly did something at the hospital in this year but to date it is not clear what.

The unreferenced typescript on the history of the building in the Winsford Trust Archive states that this was the extension at the west end.[n.b. the 1906 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map shows the extension already in place. This, along with the patient painting, see 1914, establishes that the west end addition pre-dates 1924. Expenditure on buildings identified in the accounts to the Charity Commissioners make no reference to new works in 1924.

1925 Halwill Junction was expanded by a third route stretching out to the north towards Torrington by the North Devon and Cornwall Junction Light Railway.

1933 Devon RO 3761 R/A24 Beaworthy
The annual report to the Charity Commissioners.
The buildings had been maintained at a cost of £38 15s 6d. The thirteenth annual report to the Charity Commissioners records the death of Mr Medley-Costin.

He was indefatigable in his work for the good of the Hospital, which it was one of his greatest pleasures to visit daily to assure himself that everything was running smoothly, that the Staff had all they required, and that everything possible was being done for the comfort of the patients. We owe to his generosity the installation of our X Ray Plant and by his will he bequeathed a sum of money, and a Cottage, to the Hospital.

Unreferenced typescript, the Winsford Trust Archive.
31 st August. Edward Boyd Medley Costin of Winsford Tower dies. Will proved 20th October.

1939-1943 Winsford Tower was a Prisoner of War camp.

1940 The Royal Institute of British Architects(RIBA) awarded CFA Voysey the Royal Gold Medal.

1940 Voysey was commissioned to design a wallpaper for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. RIBA

1941 12th February. Charles Francis Annesley Voysey died in Winchester.

1943 Devon RO 3761 R/A24 Beaworthy
The annual report to the Charity Commissioners.
The twenty-third annual report records that a new kitchen range had been installed at a cost of £62. Medical staff consisted of a consulting physician; a consulting surgeon, three medical officers and a matron. There had been 78 in-patients of which 64 were midwifery. 161 examinations had been carried out in the ante-natal clinic by the midwife. There had been 97 out-patient visits.

1946 Devon RO 3761 R/A24 Beaworthy
The annual report to the Charity Commissioners. Cost of repairs to the buildings £88 2s 10d. Engine expenses and repair £15 10s 3d. The hospital had been closed in June for redecoration. There had been 106 in-patients, all midwifery; 331 ante-natal examinations.

The hospital continues to do extremely useful work as a Maternity Home for the neighborhood, and will continue to do so until such time as a new Maternity Hospital is built in the County. It will be seen from the detailed list of cases appended, that the great majority of patients come from the 14 parishes for which the hospital was endowed.

1947 Devon RO 3761 R/A24, Beaworthy
The annual report to the Charity Commissioners.
On the eve of the creation of the NHS the twenty-seventh annual report states

This is the last report to be issued of the Hospital voluntary and independent. The future is uncertain but it is hoped that the Institution will continue for some years with a local Committee under the South-Western Regional Hospital Board.

Rates of payment in this year were a normal rate of £2 2s per week. Maternity cases were the same per week before birth, rising to £4 4s per week after birth. Wives of members of the Forces and contributors under National Health Insurance were £2 2s per week before birth and £3 3s after birth. The charges for out patients (none are enumerated) was unchanged since 1925 at 1s for the first attendance and 6d for any subsequent attendance. The hospital had been closed in August for redecoration ‘and until September owing to shortage of staff’. There had been 95 admissions in the year, of which all were midwifery except 2.

1948 5th July. Creation of the National Health Service.

1948 Visitors’ Book, Winsford Trust Archive.
Entry in visitors’ book indicates that it was still primarily a maternity hospital.

1962 Enoch Powell’s Hospital Plan saw the subsequent closure of many cottage hospitals.

1965 1st March. The line north to Torrington from Halwill Junction closed to passengers.

1966 3rd October. The line to Bude and Padstow from Halwill Junction was closed.

1978 The Winsford Hospital was given statutory protection by listing.

1982 The line north from Halwill Junction, which had continued in use for freight, was closed.

1995 Erection of a parish hall at Halwill Junction.

1998 Western Morning News, 26.03.1998
The North and East Devon Health Authority proposed the closure of the hospital, to be followed by the upgrading of Holsworthy hospital. This prompted the establishment of the Winsford Hospital Action Group.

Western Morning News, 21.08.1998
The last patients left the hospital. It was reported that at full occupancy the hospital had employed 26 full-time staff.

Western Morning News, 31.08.1998
The hospital was boarded up and local people held a candlelit vigil outside it.

Western Morning News, 14.09.1998
The campaign for the local community to acquire the building was supported by SAVE England’s Heritage and the Western Morning News. The original endowment was thought to present a legal challenge to the Health Authority’s right to sell the building.

Western Morning News, 28.09.1998
The RIBA, the Plymouth Architectural Trust and Lord Rogers all publicly opposed plans to change the use of the building. John Burnett, Lib Dem MP for Torridge and West Devon was quoted

the trust is aware…that it has no right in law to remove original artefacts and furniture designed by Voysey. Yet this has done so with the barbarous intention of exhibiting them, out of context, in the Holsworthy Museum

There was a reference to the endowment fund having risen to £30,000 when the NHS acquired the property in 1948.

Western Morning News, 30.09.1998
Michael Wright of English Heritage was quoted

I have asked the Conservation Officers to let me know about fixtures and fittings removed from the hospital. I understand that bracket oil lamps have been taken out. That would appear to be a breach of regulations concerning a building of this importance

Devon RO, 3372M-0/249,1998 [Sale catalogue]
Sales particulars describe the hospital as having 15 beds in 5 wards. An accompanying plan shows the layout at that date. The guide price was £160,000 – £180,000.

1999 7th December. ‘Memorandum of Articles of Association of the Winsford Trust’ under the Companies Act 1985 and 1989. Establishment of the Winsford Trust.

Western Morning News, 17.02.1999

While the Cornish Cottage Hospitals and neighbouring Lynton enjoyed reprieves, Winsford is emptied of its fittings and equipment and put on the market

The Landmark Trust offered to use half the building for holiday lets. The building was bought by the League of Friends for £168,000 (the funds had not all been raised). It was reported that the hospital had cost £338,000 p.a. to run. The issue of the future of the hospital had been raised at the Labour Party Conference in October 1998 with the Health Secretary, Frank Dobson.

Western Morning News, 16.06.1999
It was reported that funds for purchase had been donated by charities, individual bodies and large companies, including the South West Electricity Board.

Western Morning News, 14.09.1999
‘The Winsford Appeal’ to raise funds was a joint initiative by the League of Friends and Age Concern, Okehampton.

2000 Restoration – principally redecoration and clearing the garden – by the League of Friends.

Western Morning News, 24.12.2000
It was reported that the Health Authority had removed all fittings, even the baths, except for light bulbs. The article states that after 1948, the building was used as ‘a hospital, accident and emergency ward for the area, convalescent home and branch surgery for a GP’.

2007 Conservation Statement for the Winsford Centre written by Cynthia Gaskell-Brown.

2009 English Heritage awarded two grants for the Condition Survey to proceed.

2011 The pilgrim Trust match funded the grant from English Heritage.

2011 November. Condition Surveys commence.

2012 April. Condition Survey complete.

With special thanks to Jo Cox – Keystone Historic Buildings Consultant.