Knot sculpture inspired by development’s workhouse history

A striking artwork drawing on the rich history of a former workhouse and hospital forms the centrepiece of a new housing development.

A sculpture resting on a plinth has been unveiled in the knot garden at The Pavilions housing scheme in West End. In the form of an eternal knot, the artwork – produced with the close involvement of the local community – represents the continued use of the site in Botley Road, with the plinth carrying panels depicting activities that took place through its fascinating history.  The Barratt Homes development, which contains 121 new homes and includes affordable housing, is now sold out.

Formerly Moorgreen Hospital, the imposing Victorian building at the heart of the development was originally built as the area’s workhouse. It was constructed in 1848, with two gatehouses (the welcoming lodges) added later. These three buildings are all locally listed, due to their historic interest and the quality of the architecture. Although Victorian philanthropism didn’t offer the same standards as today’s social care, the workhouse provided both food and shelter for those who fell on hard times. When the NHS was formed in 1948, the building became Moorgreen Hospital.

The artist, Tim Ward, worked with members of the local community, the Parish Council and nearby St James CE Primary School to develop the work which was commissioned by the Hedge End, West End & Botley Local Area Committee and funded by a contribution from the developer.

Chair of the Hedge End, West End & Botley Local Area Committee, Councillor Cynthia Garton, said:

‘I’m sure that new residents at The Pavilions will agree that Tim has produced a superb piece of work that provides the finishing touch to this very attractive development.  We’re grateful to the local community for their ideas and input  that have helped tell the story about this important part of West End’s heritage – and have created a new landmark.’