Lord Leycester Hospital has received £1.42 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to kick off a four-year renovation and income generating project.
Originally founded as almshouses for ex-servicemen by Robert Dudley (1st Earl of Leicester), the grant will be used to transform the Warwick landmark’s Grade I and II listed buildings into a publicly accessible attraction, telling both the story of the heritage buildings and of the resident’s past and present.
When complete, items will be displayed including medals from the Crimean War and Battle of Waterloo, a helmet worn at the 1854 battle of Balaclava, and a custom-built chair made for King James I when he visited Warwick in 1617.
Seven armed forces veterans, known as ‘the Brethren’, currently live at the Lord Leycester Hospital and will remain. Between them, they have served with the Grenadier Guards, Royal Air Force, Royal Ordnance Corps, Royal Navy and Irish Guards.
Gordon Hill, 84, who was in the Royal Air Force and is the oldest of the Brethen said The Lord Leycester Hospital is “a unique place to call home and we are all very proud to be this generation of Brethen and become a part of its rich historic legacy. Long may it continue.”
Dr Heidi Meyer, who is the Lord Leycester’s first female Master since the first appointed in 1571, said the grant “will ensure this philanthropic legacy continues and that our beautiful medieval buildings are resilient enough to provide a home for our military men and women long into the future.”
Anne Jenkins, Director, England, Midlands & East, National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “We are delighted to announce this funding on Armistice Day as we remember, all those who have fought in and been affected by wars across the world.