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New Wing

28.09.21

Now known as Gun Hill Park, the formerly derelict, Grade II-listed Cambridge Military Hospital in the Hampshire town of Aldershot – one of the finest examples of Britain's rich military heritage – has been reimagined and brought back to life as 140 luxurious homes for private sale by developer and placemaking specialist Weston Homes.

The £60 million (GDV) transformation by Weston Homes of the 12-acre collection of Victorian and Edwardian neo-classical, yellow brick and Bath stone buildings into a new residential address is a sensitive and respectful restoration of this landmark hospital which was originally designed based on design principles provided by Florence Nightingale, under the auspices of HRH Prince Albert, The Prince Consort.

The Gun Hill Park restoration project honours the Victorian hospital’s remarkable past and offers buyers the chance to live in a piece of British history in an age-old army town. Built 142 years ago and opened in 1879 to resemble a grand stately home, the hospital boasts the incredible feat of treating wounded soldiers from the Boer War (1899-1902), the First and the Second World Wars (1914-1918 and 1940-1945 respectively) and the Gulf War (1990-1991).

It was the first British hospital to receive injured heroes from the Western Front in France and Belgium in the Great War and has been described as the birthplace of plastic surgery, as British military doctor Captain Gillies (later Sir Howard Gillies) opened the UK’s first plastic surgery unit there in 1915 which was used as the facility to treat troops disfigured in the Battle of the Somme (1916).

The New Zealand born surgeon, Gillies, is widely considered to be the father of modern plastic surgery as he persuaded the army's chief surgeon Sir William Arbuthnot Lane to establish the hospital's facial injury ward where more than 11,000 operations were performed on more than 5,000 men.

The Italianate-style hospital, built to resemble a stately home, was designed by the local architectural firm Messrs Martin Wells & Co of Aldershot. The hospital was built on a hill as the Victorians believed that fresh air and the wind would blow away disease and infected air.

The facility was named after Prince George, His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, who was Commander-in-Chief of the army and opened the prestigious site in 1879. Over recent decades it has been visited by Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Anne and Princess Margaret. The hospital closed its doors in 1996 and a sad consequence was the beautiful buildings fell into despair.

The vision of Weston Homes, under the leadership of its chairman and managing director Bob Weston, was not only to deliver much-needed new homes to the expanding town, which is only 33 miles from London, but to restore this national treasure, retaining period features and the characterful details of the heritage site.

The first phase of Gun Hill Park has been the restoration and repurposing of the main hospital building now called The Cambridge which will provide 74 homes including one, two and three bedroom apartments and a stunning penthouse incorporating the building’s clock tower; alongside two, three  and four bedroom houses.

The original building has been re-imagined by Weston Homes and layered with a modern specification to create contemporary homes ideal for modern living. More than 300 bespoke sash windows have been reinstated in The Cambridge, the new ones crafted in the exact image of the old arched windows but now complete with micro-thin double glazing.

In order to redevelop the site in the most sympathetic way, whilst reducing carbon and the use of new materials, more than 55,000 bricks have been salvaged. The same approach is being taken with roof tiles.

Eight Victorian staircases have been carefully restored, including both outside staircases to the main building. For the internal staircases, damaged balustrades have been removed, moulded, copied and recast in aluminium to match the original ones. Other 100-year-old details that have been uncovered and rescued include 21 fireplaces and the existing bookshelves in the library.

New covered balconies and high-ceilinged communal foyers serve to elevate the new residence in its return to grandeur. The positive transformation includes the enhancement of outside spaces and will stretch across the 12-acres of grounds that Gun Hill Park is nestled in. Extensive landscaping ensures that, in order to meet and exceed biodiversity development targets, more nature habitats will be established at Gun Hill Park than were there before work started.

The different wings and buildings are separated by gardens and hidden planted courtyards providing pockets of greenery and peaceful outside space. Open lawns and trees guide views along The Cambridge facade while a new heritage trail will weave through Gun Hill Park and Aldershot – which has been an important town since the Crimean War in 1853.

The new Weston Homes development is just a stone’s throw from the town centre and surrounded by rural beauty. Homebuyers at Gun Hill Park can escape into Wellesley Woodlands where there are around 250 acres of canal-side walks, wildlife reserves, lakes and open spaces, Caesar’s Park, Parade Park, the Alice Holt Forest and the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Bob Weston, Chairman & Chief Executive of Weston Homes, says: “In the leafy and green London commuter town of Aldershot, the new houses and apartments at Gun Hill Park combine Grade II listed heritage buildings with modern interiors, new build elements and an outstanding luxurious specification, setting a new standard of quality in the local housing market at competitive prices.”

To market Gun Hill Park, Weston Homes has created a stunning ‘must visit’ marketing suite and three-bedroom showroom in The Cambridge. A wide range of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments as well as two, three and four-bedroom houses start from £299,000.

www.Weston-homes.com

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