Historical Royal Doulton Ceramic Tiles Saved
It was interesting to read recently about historical Royal Doulton tiles depicting nursery rhymes that were on the walls of an old hospital. The Royal Doulton ceramic tiles make up a series of murals depicting classic nursery rhymes such as Ding, Dong Bell and Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. They had been adorning the walls of the children’s ward at the War Memorial Hospital in Havant since 1936 but the old building had been sold to developers in 2011 and they were likely to demolish the building to redevelop the site.
Fortunately there was a local campaign to save these unique tiles and now £25,000 has been raised which will fund the removal and restoration of the tiles. Some of the necessary funds will come from the sale of the building and some has been contributed by a charitable donation. After restoration they will be given a new home in the town’s local museum.
Similar hand-painted Royal Doulton ceramic tiles were removed from the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and repaired and restored. They were removed complete with their mortar and some of the brick from the wall using special diamond cutting equipment.
Over decades in a working hospital many of the tile panels had been drilled to install medical equipment so these holes had to be filled and the missing artwork restored. After restoration, some were then returned to the hospital and placed on display in specially made stainless steel frames.
Royal Doulton were producing similar tiles from the early 20th century and 10 such historic nursery rhyme murals have been gracing the walls of Wellington Hospital, New Zealand since 1912. These have even survived earthquakes, demolition threats and attempted thefts.