Sunday, 7 September 2014

Spotlight on: 54 Baxter Gate

Former nurses' home

Number 54 in the distance

I'm a little short of time at the moment, so I am posting today about a brief conversation which I was involved with on the fbk Remember Loughborough page about a building on Baxter Gate. Coincidentally, I had been talking about this building earlier this week, and it has been one of my favourites since I first discovered it as part of my tour guiding course end 2012/beginning 2013.

Baxter Gate is an interesting street, with buildings from many different eras existing side-by-side. It's
1930s building on Baxter Gate
a one-way street: On the left-hand side as you go down, there are many fantastic examples of 1920/30s buildings, whilst on the other side are much older buildings, one such - Titania's - being thought to be 16th century. The reason for these different building styles is that in the late 1920s, early 1930s Baxter Gate, along with several other Loughborough streets, was widened from its original Tudor width. I do find it rather amusing that around 1985 (and I did say "around" because I can't quite remember the exact year!) the corner of Baxter Gate, where you turn left off the High Street, was made narrower again when the market Place was pedestrianized and the pedestrian lights changed. Not sure what's happening there at the moment, with the pedestrianization of the High Street.

Number 54 Baxter gate

Anyway, the building in question is a Grade II listed building, which at one time was next door to the hospital. Before the hospital was built, in 1862, there was a dispensary on Baxter Gate, which had been originally situated in 1819 on Mill Street (now Market Street), but moved to Baxter Gate in 1824. Looking at a map of 1837, I would suggest that the dispensary is on the plot now occupied by Beacon Bingo, and ceased to be used once the new hospital was built.

Messrs Garton the Mart

So, number 54 Baxter Gate was built around 1900, in brick, with terracotta - possibly from the Hathern Brick company - as an auction mart for Garton and Amatt, with a restaurant and rooms on the upper floors, and has a carriageway arch to the left. I'm not sure when Garton and Amatt vacated the building, but I know Garton moved to the Temperance café on Cattle Market.

The hospital was originally a two-storey building, but in the early 1930s, when more space was needed, a couple of extra storeys were added, and some time later, the buildings adjacent to the hospital were demolished and an extension built on the side. This meant that number 54 Baxter Gate was now next to the hospital.

57 Park Road

The nurses' home at this time, was in a purpose-built building which had been built from about 1924 onwards, but at some point they moved to number 54 and stayed there until 1960 when they then moved to 57 Park Road. In 1963, number 54 became offices for the hospital, and was used in this way until at least 1984, becoming a medical information centre in the late 1980s, before closing the doors sometime in the 1990s.

Folks on fbk have said that they remember number 54 being used as a doctors' surgery: Certainly, a Dr McLeod lived at number 52 Baxter Gate in 1929. Mention was also made of Drs: Thompson, B[r]amber, Riley, Harris, Ryan, Acker, Jeffs, Earl, Shicks, and Janner. Perhaps the term "offices" really meant "doctors' consulting rooms"? Apparently, these doctors moved to Woodbrook Medical centre on Bridge Street: There is still a Dr Ryan listed as working there.

So, there is now a planning application out to re-develop the former hospital site, with number 54 included in this. The notices are currently pinned to the mural where the hospital used to be.  

See ya next week, hopefully!

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If you have found this post interesting or have any questions about any of the information in it do please leave a comment below. I might not be able to answer immediately, but I will reply as soon as possible. Thanks for reading the blog.