Wolverhampton's Locally Listed Buildings

The Wolverhampton and Midland Counties Eye Infirmary (Nurses Home)

Merridale Road

Local Listing:   The architect for the Nurses' Home was Arthur W Worrall who was born in Heath Town in 1868. His other works include the Nurses Home of 1907 at the Royal Hospital and, also at the Royal Hospital, the Edward VII Memorial Wing which was designed in 1911 and is now Statutorily Listed (Grade II) as an integral part of the principal Royal Hospital building.

The Nurses' Home is of three storeys, built of brick with stone dressings under steeply pitched plain clay tiled roofs. The principal (South) elevation is of nine bays and the two bays at either end project forward under gabled roofs, with splayed bay windows at ground floor level. The central entrance door has leaded light stained glass upper panels with an elaborate stone doorcase surmounted by a stone panel incised with the date 1928. Original six pane vertically sliding sash windows survive throughout the building. The rear (north) elevation of the building is of a more utilitarian but entirely complementary style but it has been disfigured by an unsightly array of pipework and other service installations. There is an inappropriate flat roofed, single storey extension attached to the northwest corner of the building but otherwise it survives externally in its original condition. However the building is currently disused.

Its setting is partly undermined by a large industrial refuse container which is permanently stored in the open parking area to the West and also by a single storey, flat roofed range immediately adjoining to the East. However, the effect of the single storey block is to some extent mitigated by an attractive and surprisingly secluded informal garden to the East of the Nurses' Home (between it and the original Infirmary building).

Comment:  There are three principal buildings on this site: the original Infirmary of 1888; the Nurses' Home of 1927; and the Outpatients'/Accident and Emergency Extension of 1937. These buildings are quite different in style but all are of definite architectural and historic interest and all were designed by significant local architects.

All three buildings are locally listed and all are in the Oaks (Merridale Road) Conservation Area.  The notes under “Local Listing” above are taken from the Conservation Area Appraisal and are therefore somewhat more comprehensive than the usual local listing notes.  A full history of the Infirmary can be found on this site if you follow this link.  It will be apparent that the Eye Infirmary has been very important in the social and health history of the city.  It has been a greatly appreciated facility in which there was a good deal of local pride. 

The local health care trust decided, in 2004, to close the Eye Infirmary, sooner rather than later, and move its services to somewhere else, unspecified and apparently unknown.  These buildings are, therefore, at risk and sympathetic new uses need to be found for them.  As the grounds in which they stand are now crowded and suffering from poor landscaping and neglect, any re-development should be treated as an opportunity to greatly improve the setting of these buildings.