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HER Number:MDV74114
Name:Grenville Nursing Home, 81, Meddon Street, Bideford


Grenville Nursing Home at 81, Meddon Street was built in the 19th century as Bideford Infirmary and Dispensary.


Grid Reference:SS 451 263
Map Sheet:SS42NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBideford
Ecclesiastical ParishBIDEFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOSPITAL (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Cook, P. & Passmore, A., 09/2014, 81 Meddon Street, Bideford, Devon (Report - Evaluation). SDV359461.

Historic building recording and a trench evaluation undertaken at 81 Meddon Street. The dispensary was demolished in 2010/2011 without any archaeological record being prepared. Following discussions with the HET, it was agreed that a retrospective survey report would be prepared based upon the archive created by AC archaeology for the 2007 assessment, and any other readily available sources. Due to the use of the building as a nursing home at the time of the site visit, limited access was available to the interior of the building. No new relevant material has been identified at the North Devon Record Office.

The new 14-bed Bideford and District Dispensary and Infirmary was opened on 31 March 1887, replacing earlier premises in Buttgarden Street and the Quay. The building was set back front the street frontage and its plan form comprised a large rectangular building with projecting rooms at each corner. Those on the north side were larger than those at the rear which were separated from the main block by short corridors. It also incorporated two central projections, the rear one being slightly wider than the northern one. The building was enlarged in 1895 with the provision of a children's ward. The 1903-4 25-inch Ordnance Survey map shows that this involved the extension of the central northern entrance to the street frontage. Plans to enlarge the hospital were proposed in 1919, and land was purchased to
accommodate the extension. However, it was not possible to evict the stting tenants, and a new hospital was constructed in Abbotsham Road, opening in 1925. The Meddon Street site was sold for £1228, and became a private maternity and nursing home; the latter use continuing until October 2007. The 1930s Ordnance Survey mapping depicts an infilling along the eastern side of the building between the two projecting rooms. Maps from this date onwards also depict a scarp behind the building, reflecting the rear of the terrace on which the dispensary was constructed. More recent extensions were added to the rear of the building and on the northwest side against the street frontage.

General description
In 2007 the building was described as a two-storey structure with (presumably) stone walls under render, painted white, with bricks chimneys and slate roofs. Following demolition, the foundations have been left in situ, and primary stone footings are visible, along with brick and concrete block walls of the later additions. All windows had been replaced with double-glazed units. Either side of the central block, the site was defined by rendered boundary walls, partially topped with cast-iron railings
incorporating vehicular openings at the east and west ends. There was no cellar at street level, but a semi-basement is believed to exist at the rear.

Exterior elevations
The central front (north) entrance was finished with a Dutch gable in front of a steeply-pitched roof topped with ceramic ridge tiles (Plate 1). The central doorway had been blocked and converted to a window. It was flanked by a pair of windows. All were set within round-headed openings rising from a pair of square columns either side of the doorway topped with Tuscan-style capitals – the same decoration being present on a string course at the base of the windows. Tall keystones on each opening terminated within a string course at first-floor level. Above this there was a further string course on which two tall, round-headed, centrally-set windows sat. Around these was a thin applied, mainly plain but slightly decorated finish comprising columns and horizontal bars terminating in a string course. Above this was a circular blind opening in the top of the gable. The very top section of the gable had been removed (see below). The top of the vertical edges to the gable were finished with spherical finials (see report for further building details).

The evaluation has, within its limited scope, confirmed the presence of the layout of the former dispensary including the position of an internal wall. The work has demonstrated that within different parts of the footprint of the building there has been either total removal of archaeological deposits or significant removal of the postmedieval deposits.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Bideford Infirmary & Dispensary' shown on 19th century map on the south side of Meddon Street in Bidefod.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Infirmary' shown on early 20th century map.

Timms, S. C., 1977-1981, Bideford Development Control Consultations, 23/9 (Un-published). SDV346164.

Cox, P. + Cottam, S. + Chandler, J., 2007, 81 Meddon Street, Bideford: Archaeological Desk-based Assessment, 7-11 (Report - Assessment). SDV339804.

'Bideford and District Dispensary and Infirmary' was opened on 31st March 1887. It could accommodate 14 in-patients. The building was enlarged in 1895 with a children's ward. The site could not be extended in 1919 so a new hospital in Abbotsham Road was built and opened in 1925. The old hospital became a private maternity and nursing home and was called the Grenville Nursing Home by 1935. it was in operation until 2007 when the site was to be redeveloped. The two storey building with rendered stone walls under slate roofs had elaborate Dutch gables. The firm of Cole Haw and Company had a mineral black paint manufacturers in Meddon Street in 1830 and an oral tradition in 1907 recalled a paint mine in Meddon Street at the site of the later infirmary.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV339804Report - Assessment: Cox, P. + Cottam, S. + Chandler, J.. 2007. 81 Meddon Street, Bideford: Archaeological Desk-based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. AC1156/2/1. A4 Stapled + Digital. 7-11.
SDV346164Un-published: Timms, S. C.. 1977-1981. Bideford Development Control Consultations. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. A4 Unbound. 23/9.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #101401 ]
SDV359461Report - Evaluation: Cook, P. & Passmore, A.. 09/2014. 81 Meddon Street, Bideford, Devon. AC Archaeology. ACD969/2/0. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV54865Related to: Adit south of Meddon Street (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4336 - Assessment of 81 Meddon Street, Bideford.
  • EDV6922 - Evaluation and Building Recording, 81 Meddon Street, Bideford, Devon (Ref: ACD969/2/0)

Date Last Edited:Mar 9 2016 3:54PM