By Bricks & Mortar - A Passion For Homes on 12/03/2013

Conceived by Charles H. Howell over 140 years ago, Fair Mile’s hospital buildings near Cholsey Meadows in Oxfordshire, stand as proud today as they did in 1870 – a fine example of Victorian grandeur and architectural confidence. Crow step gables, red and blue brick detailing, stone sills and mullions, sliding sash windows – countless historic hallmarks tell the story of a bygone age.

Fair Mile opened as an asylum on 30th September, 1870, designed by Howell, with grounds by Robert Marnock, the original site could accommodate 500 patients. The grand main building was joined by offices, a superintendent’s house, a lodge and various cottages. There was also a farm, providing fresh dairy and produce, and a chapel.

Charles Henry Howell, FRibA (c.1824 – 1905) was a leading Victorian architect for asylums. Based in London and a partner in the firm Howell & Brooks, Howell built the hospital at Fairmile in 1868 for £68,000. Other buildings designed by Howell  include St Leonard’s Hill in Windsor, Ribsden, near  Bagshot, and Surrey County Hall.

Local employment plus social, recreational and sporting activities quickly saw the hospital forging links with nearby village communities – relationships that endured for over 130 years until Fair Mile hospital’s closure in 2003.

Now, as Thomas Homes’ scheme begins a new chapter for Fair Mile, vibrant communities can unite once more.

Working sympathetically to maintain the historic fabric of the buildings, Thomas Homes is creating 130 new dwellings within the existing structures. In a scheme that embraces the latest sustainable best practice, and a planning framework securing lasting regeneration, Fair Mile is being reborn.

The facilities at the development are extensive and include:

- Over 100 acres of open fields and marshlands

- One mile of riverbank along the Thames Nature Reserve including woodland and nature trails and wildflower meadows

- Fair Mile shop, restaurant, café and offices

- Cricket pitch and pavilion

- Allotments and the former kitchen gardens transformed for residents’ horticultural use

 - Fully equipped play area, day nursery professionally operated and providing places for around 50 pre-school children

 - Chapel, a Great Hall and a newly-restored community hall, complete with stage

Established in 1974, Thomas Homes is one of the largest privately owned residential property developers in the south of England.

Fair Miles homes, including the Hermitage Court phase, are being sold through Savills with a Thomas Homes sales office and show home at Fair Mile open 7 days a week and contactable on Tel: +44 (0)1491 652 515.

Victorian Hospital Converts into Stunning Homes header image