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The History of Devereaux House
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The History of Devereaux House

May 09, 2021 2 Min

The History of Devereux House (formerly the Farnborough & Cove War Memorial Hospital)

In March 1919 public meetings were held in both Aldershot and Farnborough to discuss how the fallen from the First World War should be remembered and what form the welcome home to those who survived should take. It is interesting that only 100 people attended in Aldershot but over 700 turned out in Farnborough.

It was unanimously agreed that the war memorial should be of practical use and that the people of Cove and South Hawley should also be involved. It was then agreed to create a living memorial in the form of a Cottage Hospital in preference to a granite memorial.

A private house in Albert Road named ‘Rosmarkie’, built in 1915 by a Major King, was purchased and with the aid of public and private subscriptions, the Cottage Hospital was created.

In July 1921, Earl Haig opened the building, then named The Farnborough and Cove War Memorial Hospital. He said it was for the benefit of all the descendants of those who had given their lives in the Great War. Their names are inscribed on a board which was displayed in the entrance hall. As the local War Memorial, wreathes were laid there annually on Remembrance Day.

With the addition of various extensions, the hospital was run with the aid of voluntary help until 1948 when the NHS took over. It had all the facilities of a working hospital including operating theatres, general and surgical beds and a maternity ward. The latter subsequently being transferred to facilities at Farley Court nearby. All the local doctors attended to their own patients there, one of the earliest being Dr Hunter Dunn, the father of Joan Hunter Dunn immortalised in John Betjeman’s poem The Subaltern’s Love Song.

On the opening of Frimley Park in 1974, the Cottage Hospital closed, but the Council was anxious that the building still retained its community use. For a while it was occupied by various departments of the Council. Then in 1975 the Farnborough & Cove War Memorial Hospital Trust was formed, and Devereux House came into being. The correct pronunciation is Dever-ex (as in Rex), not Dever-eau as is the French pronunciation. This is because the leading light in forming the Trust was Councillor Colonel Robert Devereux who insisted on the ‘ex’ pronunciation.

In 1978 the day care centre was opened downstairs followed by the Short Stay Residential use upstairs. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic the closure of these facilities at the end of 2020 marked the end of another chapter in its history.

The building is owned by Rushmoor Borough Council and although on the Council’s list of Buildings of Local Importance, its future is uncertain. However, it is sincerely hoped that it will be able to retain some form of community use.

  • In March 1919 Public Meetings were held to discuss how the deaths of those killed in the 1914- 1918 war should be commemorated
  • In 1921 Earl Haigh opened Devereux House – Known then as the Farnborough and Cove War Memorial Hospital
  • The NHS took over the Hospital in 1948
  • In 1975 The Farnborough & Cove War Memorial Hospital Trust was formed.

Thanks to Jo Gosney for submitting this article

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