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Wednesday 6 May 2009

Barnsley Hall Hospital, Bromsgrove, Worcester (1907)

Hospitals have some splendid water towers, but unfortunately, many are being demolished, such as the recently reported Trafford General Hospital. Barnsley Hall Hospital had a splendid gothic water tower: a square tower in red brick with sandstone and terracotta dressing. It was demolished in April 2000, when it was reported “the day the water tower was demolished, lorry drivers on the nearby M5 stopped on the hard shoulder to watch, as this landmark building that had been a feature of their trips up and down the country for all of their driving careers.”

The hospital had opened on 26th June 1907 as the second Worcestershire County Lunatic Asylum, to relieve pressure on the existing site at Powick. It’s architect was George Thomas Hine. The Hospital transferred to the NHS in 1948 and closed in 1996. In 1997 there were proposals to convert the water tower, but these came to nothing. The Bromsgrove Society reported in its March 1999 Newsletter “The Barnsley Hall redevelopment will result in the demolition of the water tower as no suitable alternative use has been found.” The Local Authority had tried to have the water tower listed but failed. In 1998 the site was sold to the Laing/McAlpine partnership, after which the majority of the original buildings were demolished including the water tower.

The tower was located to the west of the main administration block, presumably where Tower Drive now is, at approximately O.S. Grid Ref. SO 96010 72578. Capacity unknown, any more information gratefully received. Photograph by Mark Norton taken May-July 1992.

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