<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lancaster's Moor Hospital to be transformed in multi-million pound housing property development

PUBLISHED: 12:47 05 February 2013 | UPDATED: 23:27 23 October 2015

Lancaster's Moor Hospital

Lancaster's Moor Hospital

Lancaster is a city of landmark buildings and one is preparing for a new life as a desirable<br/>place to live, writes Sue Riley

Anyone driving along the M6 sees three iconic buildings as they pass the city of Lancaster. Perhaps the most memorable is the Ashton Memorial, the folly in the park built by one of England’s wealthiest men and a place much loved and visited by Lancastrians.

The newest on the scene is Lancaster University’s copper-clad Infolab which since its completion in the mid 1990s has won a handful of design
awards but divided local opinion. And the third is the city’s former asylum, the Moor Hospital whose foreboding Gothic exterior is certainly striking, but for many in the north holds unhappy memories.

Writer Alan Bennett is no fan of the place where his mother and aunt were
both patients. ‘Lancaster Moor Hospital is not a welcoming institution. Seen from the M6 it has always looked to be like a gaunt grey penitentiary,’ he wrote in his memoirs.


For more than 10 years the building has lain empty but now that’s all
changing as the government’s Home and Communities Agency which owns the site has invested £3million for essential infrastructure work to take place. Two property developers have been selected to create up to 440 homes on the site and the first apartments and houses will be ready by the autumn.


Manchester-based PJ Livesey is undertaking the conversion of the main
building and nearby Campbell House into more than 100 apartments and 22 houses and Carlisle-based Story Homes will be building new family homes on the 20 acres of parkland adjoining the site.

The overall contract is estimated to be worth £67.8 million. ‘We will see what the market wants. Research has shown that at the present time there’s no demand as such, we have to create a market. We do not do the average type of apartments, we put our type of identity on them,’ said Pete Livesey, managing director of PJ Livesey.

The company has worked on five previous asylums and is confident that
once work starts, people’s poor memories of the Grade II listed hospital
will diminish. ‘The outside of the building has all the grandeur. People
relate to the large windows and high ceilings, living in Victorian buildings
does tend to appeal to people,’ Pete added.


They plan to develop the whole of the annexe in stages. Some of the flats will have internal balconies overlooking the courtyard which will be newly tiled and fountains installed and there will also be the chance to live in the imposing tower with its narrow spiral staircase leading to two rooms measuring five metres square. At present it houses a quarter-ofa- million gallon water tank but the developers say they will turn the tower into some form of accommodation and are open to ideas.


The other key area is the former dining hall which is being transformed into two apartments with a large communal area left to celebrate the original Waring and Gillow wooden roof trusses which are being revealed for the first time in decades. PJ Livesey’s technical director Ralph Brocklehurst had seen a picture of the original room in all its glory and
wondered if the curved trusses were hidden underneath the ceiling. They
were. Behind two noticeboards they have also uncovered original fireplaces which will be fully restored.

No prices have yet been revealed for the houses and flats but it’s safe to speculate they will be substantially higher than the cost of the entire building when it was created in 1882 – the princely sum of £125,000.

Designed by Arnold W Kershaw, it was built as an extension to the existing asylum (at the time Lancashire was one of the most heavily populated counties in England and among the first to open a county asylum) on the other side of Quernmore Road. Whereas the original building was based on a country house – it now forms the centrepiece of Standen Park, an exclusive housing estate – the extension built on the city’s racecourse is symmetrical and Gothic.

The new building had 825 beds with female wards, kitchens, padded cells and a tunnel underneath the road linking the two hospitals. Campbell House was added in 1909 and during the war it was used to house mentally ill naval officers and ratings but for many years before it shut was used primarily for elderly patients.

So far on site buildings have been demolished and land cleared. The interior of the main annexe is being stripped of all its modern partitions, bathrooms and operating theatre; asbestos and dry rot which has pervaded the building is being dealt with.

Livesey was also applying for listed building consent to turn part of the main building into apartments which should be completed by the autumn. The first new build homes in the grounds, which are offsetting the cost of the conservation work on the Victorian building, should be ready around the same time and Story Homes are in charge of the masterplan for the site, including organising community consultation.

Deborah McLaughlin, North West Executive Director at the Homes and Communities Agency, who has been working alongside English Heritage and Lancaster City Council on the project, said: ‘The longer we leave this site the more it deteriorates.


‘Unlocking publicly-owned sites to speed up the delivery of housing developments is a key priority.


‘I know the developers are keen to deliver a scheme that meets the needs and aspirations of local people, creating much needed affordable homes that will have a positive impact on the local community.’


And for Ralph Brocklehurst it’s more than just a building project, he is a real enthusiast about the building and has been reading up on its history.
He has even saved some original wallpaper dating from when the building was first opened which he is donating to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. ‘It’s a surprisingly calm place, not what I expected,’ he said.

Presumably that’s exactly how the developers hope would-be buyers view the place too.

Tall stories about Lancaster

• Originally planned as a 100 foot tall tower, Forton Services, now re-named Lancaster Services, was the only service station in the world with a tower-top restaurant until the high rise eatery was closed in the 1980s. There were reportedly complaints soon after it opened in the mid-60s that the restaurant distracted drivers because it looked like a UFO when it was lit up at night. The tower was given Grade Two listed status by English Heritage late last year.


• The Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park, which acclaimed architectural historian Pevsner called ‘the grandest monument in England’, was commissioned by lino magnate Lord Ashton as a tribute to his late wife, although he had re-married by the time building work was finished and is said to have changed his mind and dedicated it to himself.


• The words ‘scientist’ and ‘dinosaur’ were coined by Lancaster academics, William Whewell and Richard Owen respectively.

Where it is: Lancaster stands on the A6 near junction 34 of the M6. There are regular rail links with Preston, Kendal and further afield and if you have a sat nav, LA1 1XD should take you to the city centre.


Where to park: There are long and short stay pay and display car parks around the city centre and an ultra-secure multi-storey near the castle.


Where to eat:
You won’t go hungry in Lancaster – the city has a wealth of cafes, restaurants, delis, bars and pubs.


What to do: There’s so much on offer. Visit the Grade One listed castle, the Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park and the city’s museums.


Where to find out more:
Log on to www.visitlancaster.co.uk.

0 comments

More from Out & About

17:09

There are many forces of nature to witness in the Lake District, we pick six of our favourite waterfalls.

Read more
Lake District
Yesterday, 09:41

Rebekka O’Grady and photographer John Cocks meet some of the new independent businesses calling Southport home

Read more
Southport
Monday, February 12, 2018

How many of these local landmarks can you recognise?

Read more
Quiz Spring
Friday, February 9, 2018

Plans for around 600 new houses to be built in pretty Wyre village

Read more
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

John Lenehan toasts the re-opening of a Lancashire engineering landmark and notes an invention to revive any walker.

Read more
Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kirkby Lonsdale sits on the spot where Lancashire, Yorkshire and Westmorland meet, making it a great base to explore the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. All these walks start of within a ten mile radius of Kirkby Lonsdale, making them a perfect day trip for anyone staying close to the historic market town.

Read more
Kirkby Lonsdale
Monday, February 5, 2018

From businesses selling banjoes to bridalwear from a former New York costume designer, Colne is a town for all seasons. Mairead Mahon reports.

Read more
Colne
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Lake District walks dominate the top ten of Britain’s 100 list.

Read more
Lake District Lake District Walks
Friday, January 26, 2018

Barrow was built on hard graft but there’s plenty of beauty to be found as well, as Mike Glover reports

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SANDY KITCHING

Read more
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Despite its bad reputation, the cuckoo has been a great and clever survivor in the wild. However, numbers have dipped since the 1970s. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates this iconic spring bird.

Read more
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Many of us are frustrated by our inability to swim well. Sarah Hill did something about it and now helps others. She spoke to Roger Borrell.

Read more
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Celebrate the historic waterways of Lancashire with one of these canalside walks that allow you to enjoy the countryside and witness echoes the the county’s industrial past.

Read more
Canals
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Their football clubs both wear navy blue and white strips, but how well can you identify landmarks in Bolton and Preston?

Read more
Preston Bolton Quiz
Friday, January 12, 2018

Spring is not too far off and that’s the time when the birds start getting noisier in our woodlands. The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright investigates a couple of the stars of the Dawn Chorus.

Read more
Spring
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search