10 things you should know about Ford’s Hospital (Greyfriars’ Hospital)

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  • It is considered to be one of the finest examples of  16th century domestic architecture in England and is, unsurprisingly, described in the latest 'Pevsner Guide to Warwickshire'as being the finest of Coventry’s, any surviving timber framed buildings.
     
  • It was examined by the architects of the Globe Theatre in London to understand the building techniques of the time
     
  • Ford’s Hospital has also been known as Pisford Hospital and for much of its life, Greyfriar’s Hospital.
     
  • The building was officially known as the Bede House (an alms house where the inhabitants were obliged to pray for the founder).
     
  • It was built on land belonging to Greyfriars Monastery nearby by  a wealthy city wool merchant and Lord Mayor, William Ford, in 1509-1717
     
  • The Hospital (or alms houses) accommodated 5 men and 1 woman to look after them, this was increased in 1529 when the building was enlarged to accommodate 6 men with their wives. The first inhabitants received 5d a week for their upkeep but when the men had their wives as well they received 7d a week.
  • Sometime around the start of the nineteenth century it became a place that only accommodated women.
     
  • The building you see today has been extensively rebuilt after bombs fell on it during the raid of 14 October 1940 at 15 minutes past midnight. The matron, a maid and six of the inmates were killed. It also suffered bomb damage again later in the war.
     
  • There was an appeal to pay for the rebuilding which took a long time and much careful work by skilled craftsmen who reused all the original materials where possible, but in 1953 it was back to its current state.
     
  • More work was done in 1966 to bring the accommodation up to modern standards and extensions allowed seven small flats to be created together with a separate flat for a resident Matron.

 

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