Restoration of Elizabeth Castle hospital to begin
A 19TH-CENTURY hospital is due be the first of more than 30 buildings at Elizabeth Castle to be restored as part of a new project.
Jersey Heritage director Jon Carter has confirmed plans to restore some of the buildings on the site that were destroyed during the Occupation and have never been open to the public as tourist attractions, starting with the early 19th century hospital.
Mr Carter said: ‘From Jersey Heritage’s perspective this work is part of our ongoing efforts to better understand the castle in order to inform better future management, especially in connection with our current proposal for the refurbishment of the hospital.’
The castle was originally founded as an abbey in 1155 and has undergone numerous and extensive alterations from the Tudor period through to the Second World War.
A team of archaeologists – four staff members and 15 students – from York University will be carrying out excavations at the site from 2 to 9 July and will be particularly focusing on the hospital as well as the remains of an 18th century army barracks.
Matthew Jenkins, an associate lecturer at York University’s Archaeological Department, said that he and the team were ‘very excited’ to be working at Elizabeth Castle.
He said: ‘The hospital block at Elizabeth Castle is one of the earliest purpose-built hospitals in the UK as the majority of hospitals which existed in the late 18th and early 19th century were usually converted older buildings, which makes Elizabeth Castle particularly interesting.
‘And the purpose of excavating the remains of the army barracks is to find remnants for us to study and get a clearer picture of the soldiers’ day-to-day lives back then.
‘We are hoping to have a “festival of archaeology” during the dig and would love to see locals and visitors come out and learn more about the site as a major focus of the visit for us as a team is to get the public engaged in the site’s history.’