Ceremony marks start of multi-million pound 'once in a century' restoration project at Warwick's iconic Lord Leycester Hospital

Although the Lord Leycester Hospital has weathered 700 years of history, the ancient fabric of the building is beginning to show its age and major conservation work is required to ensure its survival

A ground breaking ceremony was held last week to officially kick off a multi-million pound project to restore and improve one of Warwick’s most historic buildings.

Last Friday (August 26) the Mayor of Warwick, Cllr Parminder Singh Birdi, accompanied by dignitaries, declared the start of the building works at the Lord Leycester Hospital in High Street.

The Lord Leycester Hospital, founded as almshouses for ex-servicemen by Robert Dudley a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, have raised £4.5 million over the past three years to start a ‘once in a century’ restoration and improvement project.

A ground breaking ceremony was held at the Lord Leycester Hospital to officially kick off the restoration project. Photo by Gill Fletcher
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The work has now started and will continue throughout the next year with a grand opening to the public planned for summer 2023.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded almost £2 million for the four year renovation and income generating project.

The grant will be used to transform the historic Warwick landmark into a modern visitor attraction that tells both the story of the heritage buildings, and also of the residents past and present, who have lived there.

A ground breaking ceremony was held at the Lord Leycester Hospital to officially kick off the restoration project. Photo by Gill Fletcher

Plans include a new interpretation throughout the buildings, garden and online, that will enable visitors to explore the heritage through guided tours, trails and displays.

As part of the Heritage Fund project, a calendar of innovative community engagement activities and events are also planned, to once again make the Lord Leycester Hospital a community hub.

Dr Heidi Meyer, Master of Lord Leycester Hospital said: “It has been a long road to get to this point but we could not have done it without local community support and our major funders – we are deeply grateful to them.”

Lord De L’Isle Philip Sidney and Patron of the Lord Leycester said: “The grant will enable us to restore the fabric of our beautiful medieval buildings and revitalise the interior to help tell the stories of the Masters and Brethren who have been at the heart of the Hospital for the past four centuries, as well as enabling us to continue to provide homes and community for ex-servicemen in the centuries to come.”

The Lord Leycester Hospital, founded as almshouses for ex-servicemen by Robert Dudley a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, have raised £4.5 million over the past three years to start a 'once in a century' restoration and improvement project. Photo by Gill Fletcher

For more information go to: https://www.lordleycester.com/

A ground breaking ceremony was held at the Lord Leycester Hospital to officially kick off the restoration project. Photo by Gill Fletcher
Cllr Parminder Singh Birdi, the Mayor of Warwick, at the ground breaking ceremony. Photo by Gill Fletcher
Cllr Parminder Singh Birdi, the Mayor of Warwick with Dr Heidi Meyer, Master at the Lord Leycester Hospital. Photo by Gill Fletcher
Top shows a photo taken 172 year ago that shows scaffolding on St James' Chapel. Photo supplied by Lord Leycester Hospital. Bottom photo shows how the chapel looks currently. Photo by Gill Fletcher