VIDEO: Television star George Clarke at unveiling of King Edward VII apartments in Midhurst
IT was the development the sceptics said would never happen, but after years of restoration, the first apartments in the former King Edward VII hospital have been unveiled.
With its unique Edwardian architecture, the iconic historic listed building stood empty for several years and equipment still remained in the operating theatres when City and Country, which specialises in restoring heritage sites, took ownership of it.
Now the former sanitorium is looking towards a bright future, with the first stage complete and ready for sale in a few weeks’ time.
Televisions’s Restoration Man, architect and presenter George Clarke, is a patron of the development and this week (March 23) caught the first glimpse of the estate.
Planning and Technical Director Simon Vernon-Harcourt oversaw every step of the project. He said they were committed to reinstating the main architectural elements of the original 1903-06 building. “We were given approval in 2011 and have completed the first phase of the work, the most sensitive and complicated.
“We have stripped it back and those visiting today will now see what it was like in 1905-1906, something that’s been hidden for 80 years.
“I am delighted with what we have achieved. This building has been up for 110 years and I hope it will now stand the test of time.
“I think people were generally mistrusting of developers and what was going to happen.
“Other planners were just going to add things, but we care so much.
“We were not trying to do the least we can get away with, but want to do a proper job.”
The best craftsmen and specialists were drafted in to tailor-make everything from light fixtures – an exact replica of the originals – to the stained-glass windows.
Outside, the gardens will be as Gertrude Jekyll designed them. The former sanitorium will comprise 162 apartments and there will be homes on the surrounding grounds.