1092/0/10013 Bartlet Hospital / Martello Tower R
The Bartlet Convalescent Home was built between 1923 and 1926 on top of the remains of Martello tower 'R', a small coastal artilliary fort built between 1810 and 1812. The tower was originally enclosed within a fenced military reservation covering some seven acres, situated on cliffs which today overlook the eastern end of Felixstowe promenade. The Bartlet site occupies the southern half of the former reservation which includes the tower; the northern half has never been part of it and is laid out as tennis courts. Marker stones originally placed at each corner of the reservation are not known to survive. The architect, H. Munro Cautley (1875-1959), made clever use of the surviving part of the tower (the upper floors were demolished c.1835) and walled moat to form the foundations and basement to the convalescent home above. The remains of the Martello tower comprise the lower magazine level, slightly egg-shaped in plan and measuring on average 16m in diameter. This is constructed in brick and stands to a height of about 5m, with a slight batter. The central column which supported the first-floor has been retained and is reduced in diameter at the top to form a ledge on which the timber floor joists would have sat. Surrounding the tower is a dry moat some 15m wide and 4.5m deep with an outer brick revetment wall. The complete circuit of the outer wall of the moat survives. It has a slight internal batter and was capped and coped in brick by Cautley. Apart from carrying out remedial works to the bulging walls of the tower, reinforcing the top with concrete and adding brick coping, Cautley's main intervention was the insertion of a lift shaft which required the removal of some 6m of walling. He also created an entrance passage from the dry moat into the tower by enlarging an existing storage alcove in the wall of the tower. The other internal alcoves and the main magazine remain substantially unaltered.
The 'H' shaped plan of the Bartlet convalescent home is superimposed on top of the tower and moat, so that the two long arms straddle the dry moat, with the central joining arm built on top of the tower. It comprises a single storey range to the north and two storey range to the south, with a double height link building. There is a basement level throughout which utilises the remains of the tower and walled moat and follows the footprint of the buildings above. This basement currently houses various stores, workshops and services, such as the boiler room and laundry. The magazine level of the tower is used for storage. The basement buildings have been built up against the wall of the moat and tower base. The curved line of the moat wall can easily be followed from inside and then outside where it is exposed in the gaps between the buildings.
The Bartlet Hospital is built in red brick, with exposed walls largely in Flemish bond. The roof is hipped and tiled with over-sailing eaves. A half-butterfly plan was adopted for the south range where the wards were housed, facing the sea, in two pavilions angled southwards. It has a central, two bay block housing the common rooms and with projecting end bays. The wings are joined to the central block by ranges of seven window bays fronted by arcades of five round-headed arches. The inner two arches were always glazed to sill level, with herringbone brick panels beneath, whilst the remainder were originally open to the elements and were only recently glazed in. Above each arcade is a veranda with a balcony of fretwork panels in moulded red brick, now glazed in. The verandas were designed to be deep enough for beds to be wheeled onto them. The central two bay block projects slightly under a double hipped roof which is flanked by tall brick chimney stacks.
The entrance to the hospital is centrally placed in the single storey north range and is relatively low key when compared to the impressive sea frontage. Double columns constructed in tile on low brick plinths flank the doors and carry a lintel embossed with 'Bartlet Convalescent Home'. Stepped bays to either side house the staff and kitchen facilities. The central linking wing between the north and south ranges is of double height, housing the dining hall which is open to a barrel vaulted roof and lit by sash windows and high level lunette windows. The wards, located in the south range, originally accommodated 15 beds in two wards on the ground floor for men and the same arrangement for women on the first floor. The walls of the wards and main dining room are tiled to dado level with attractive tiles made by Medmenham.
The south wings are angled southwards to enable patients to enjoy the full benefit of the sun from the open air balconies fronting the four wards. Here are located the common rooms, which retain their original bolection moulded stone fireplaces, the main dining room located directly above the Martello tower magazine, and off a passageway to the reception block a waiting room, surgery and dispensary. The kitchens are in a wing to the east and matron's quarters, staff facilities and dining room to the west. Facilities have been updated but the original layout of rooms is intact. The corridors and stair well are tiled to dado level with plain white tiles, the dado tile having two parallel rows of chevrons in green.
The convalescent home occupies a sloping site and to the south steps lead down from the verandas, to a central flight which gives access two flanking brick shelters. These flat-roofed shelters are each divided into three sections with seating for patients. The beach is a short way below the shelters.
In 1929, Munro Cautley drew up plans for a single-storey extension to the main building in the same style as the original to provide three single rooms and two double rooms with bathrooms. This was built as designed and is linked to the bathroom block off the east end of the south range. It currently houses the physiotherapy and occupational therapy department.
Martello towers are small coastal artillery forts constructed between 1805 and 1812, after the renewal of war with France in 1803, to defend England against the threat of invasion. The towers are usually circular or near circular in plan, with an average height of 10m containing three levels and were built in brick, often rendered. The tower walls are both massive (up to 4m thick on the seaward side) and battered (slope inwards) so as to resist cannon fire. The top floor, open to sky and supported by a massive central pillar, carried swivelling cannon or cannons within a deep embrasure. Some towers were supported by forward batteries, and many were surrounded by brick or stone-lined dry and/or water-filled moats crossed by bridges or drawbridges (the original iron bridge over the moat at tower 'R' was removed when the Bartlet Hospital was built). Martello towers were usually located within a rectangular fenced reservation. Of the original 29 towers built along the east coast, those which survive well and display a diversity of original components are considered to merit protection through designation and 16 are currently designated as scheduled monuments.
Convalescent homes were established in the mid-19th century out of recognition that a patient's recovery to full health was 'impracticable in the hospitals and at their own unhealthy and ill-provided homes, but may be speedily effected by pure air, rest and nutritious diet' (Richardson, H, 1998, 182). Most were located in the countryside or by the sea, the seaside providing fresh air, rest, wholesome food and the opportunity for moderate exercise in a pleasant location. The founder of Bartlet Hospital was Dr John Henry Bartlet, who had been a Governor and Surgeon of the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital. He was deeply interested in a need for a convalescent home for the benefit of patients who had to return home with no chance for proper recovery. When he died in 1917, he left the bulk of his fortune, approximately a quarter of a million pounds, for the purpose of building and maintaining a convalescent home.
The Bartlet was erected to the designs of the architect Henry Munro Cautley (1875-1959), who was appointed Diocesan Surveyor for St Edmundsbury & Ipswich in 1914. He was an architect of some local renown, designing a number of buildings which are now listed, such as St Augustine in Ipswich and Lloyds Bank in St Ives. However, he is perhaps better known for his extraordinary survey of the 1930s, published as 'Suffolk Churches and their Treasures' and was described by Pevsner as 'without doubt the greatest connoisseur of Suffolk, and indeed, East Anglian churches' (Pevsner, 1974, 62) . Cautley designed three churches in Ipswich: All Hallows, the first St Andrew and St Augustine (Pevsner, 1974, 291) and did much to influence early C20 additions to church including furnishings.
H. Munro Cautley, Esq. Architect, March 1923, Convalescent Home, Bartlet Bequest, Felixtowe, Bills of Quantities and approved plans.
1962, An Account of the National Health Service and the Ipswich and East Suffolk Group Hospital Manageent committee, pp.86-89.
1986, R. Thomas, 'The East Coast Martello Towers', In touch magazine, East Suffolk Health Authority, p.13.
H. Richardson (ed), 1998, English Hospitals 1660-1948. A Survey of their Architecture and Design.
1998, P. Hadwen et al, Felixtowe Trades & Businesses. A Nostalgic Look Back.
English Heritage Monument Class Description for Martello Towers.
Summary of Importance:
1920s convalescent home by H. Munro Cautley, incorporating the remains of Martello tower 'R', including the magazine level of the tower, encircling dry moat and revetment wall. The original plan form of the hospital is largely intact and clearly expresses its function as a convalescent home. It is a good example of the use of the half-butterfly plan in hospital buildings, with pavilion wards and open air balconies angled southwards to take full advantage of the sunlight. However, it is the physical marriage of the remains of the Martello tower with the convalescent home that is of exceptional historic and architectural interest, meriting the inclusion of the Bartlet Hospital on the list at Grade II*.