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Latitude: 50.7201 / 50°43'12"N
Longitude: -3.5266 / 3°31'35"W
OS Eastings: 292328
OS Northings: 92273
OS Grid: SX923922
Mapcode National: GBR P1.9133
Mapcode Global: FRA 37H5.PWX
Entry Name: The Exeter Eye Hospital Including Boundary Walls to North and East
Listing Date: 3 November 1992
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1266732
English Heritage Legacy ID: 420691
Location: Exeter, Devon, EX2
Electoral Ward/Division: Newtown and St Leonard's
Built-Up Area: Exeter
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
Church of England Parish: Exeter St Leonard
Church of England Diocese: Exeter
SX 9292 SW
871/6/10004 The Exeter Eye Hospital
(also known as the West of England Eye
Infirmary) including boundary walls
to north and east
Eye Hospital. Built 1902-1908 to the designs of Mr (later Sir Alfred)
Brumwell Thomas; contractor Stephens and Son of Exeter. Dark red
brick laid in English bond; ashlar stone dressings and some stone
banding; slate roofs; stacks with brick shafts banded with stone.
Baroque revival. Plan: Asymmetrical plan, the principal entrance on
the north side, overlooking Magdalen Street with a court-yard in
front. The earliest part of the hospital to be built was the east
wing, overlooking Bull Meadow, and the central block. These were
completed by 1900 and opened in 1901. The west wing, which involved
demolishing the old hospital, was nearly complete by 1908 but
according to Russell, Thomas' original plan was never completed.
Exterior: Well-preserved externally. 3 storeys. Moulded stone
stringcourses, one at first floor level, another forming a continuous
sill band below the second floor windows; stone eaves cornice.
Original windows throughout, nearly all with their original small-pane
sashes intact. Chimney shafts with 2 deep projecting cornices, the
lower cornice on brackets. The main range has an asymmetrical 13 plus
1-bay north front, the one bay (at the west end) being a projecting
corner turret. The entrance block is the three central bays of the
13, broken forward and flanked by shallow turrets with diagonal
shafts. The turrets are topped with elaborate domed stone finials.
Between the turrets the coped brickwork ramps up to a taller,
freestanding stone plaque with pilasters and a scrolled pediment. The
plaque is inscribed 'The West of England Eye Infirmary, rebuilt 1901'.
The principal doorway in the centre has a recessed porch with a
segmental-headed archway with a keystone and a moulded eared
architrave. Round-headed recesses above all but the entrance block
windows. To left and right of the entrance block the ground floor
windows are round-headed with glazed panels above the sashes and
keystones attached to the first floor string. The first floor windows
are segmental headed with glazed panels above the sashes. Two bands
of stone decorate the second floor, which has segmental-headed sashes
divided by paired pilasters. The courtyard in front of the building
is bounded by attractive contemporary ramped brick walls with moulded
stone coping (railings missing). The walls curve inwards to two gate-
ways with square section brick piers with moulded cornices and obelisk
finials on stems with an egg and dart cornice. At the east (left) end
the 6-bay inner return of the east wing continues in a matching style
with a porch in the inner angle. The north end of the wing has a 3-
storey canted bay with a domed lead roof.
The east elevation (the Bull Meadow side) is 15 bays with two
separately-roofed canted stair turrets with tall finials. A single-
storey block adjoins at the north. The rear (south) elevation of the
main block and the west wing are slightly plainer, without the stone
banding that decorates the front elevation and east wing, but retain
their original windows. Tall coped brick walls bound the site to the
rear. Interior: Inside the porch its ceiling is a coffered plaster
vault. The entrance hall has a good marble chimney piece probably
from an earlier house and a memorial plaque above. Other original
features included glazed brick walls and ceiling of the corridors and
operating theatre and a tessellated marble floor. The Exeter eye
hospital was the first provincial eye hospital to be established
following the foundation of Moorfields in 1804. The competition for
the new building, designed to accommodate 85 patients and an
outpatients department, was assessed by Mr Charles Barry. The
estimated cost was £19,000 with an additional £6,000 for furniture and
fittings. The money was raised by a public appeal. Thomas (1868-
1948) designed a number of town halls in a neo-Baroque or Baroque-
Classic style: Belfast City Hall; Stockport Town Hall and Plumstead
Town Hall. An impressive building, very unspoiled externally and an
important focus on the edge of Exeter City centre. Sources: Russell,
P M G, A History of the Exeter Hospitals (1976). Stuart Gray, A.
Edwardian Architecture: A Biographical Dictionary (1985).
Listing NGR: SX9233592273
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