The Architect's View

In 2014 Hampshire County Council secured Heritage Lottery Funding to undertake extensive conservation, alterations and new build works to the Grade II* Listed Royal Victoria Chapel to ensure its long term sustainable future.

The conservation works have included major works to the chapel windows, internal plaster repairs, external structural, stonework, brickwork and lime mortar repairs, substantial gutter repairs, re-roofing and conservation of paintwork.

The chapel has also had an entire new services fit out, with new electrics, lighting and heating throughout. The existing historic light fittings were retained and rewired in the main hall. A new lift and staircases have been installed to improve access. A new build has been sympathetically added to the side of the chapel that provides the necessary facilities for the chapel to function as a heritage and event venues, securing its long term future.  The new building has a glazed link that allows for the original fabric of the existing building to still be readable and reduces the visual impact of the new build. This connect the chapel to the new extension which is a simple timber clad box that becomes part of a new landscape setting, so as to differentiate itself from and sit subservient to the main chapel building.

The new landscape setting for the chapel creates a more inviting and welcoming areas for visitors, whilst starting to interpret the size and scale of the original hospital. It includes a timber pergola that runs across the front elevation of the chapel along the line of what would have been the original hospital corridor. The pergola also frames the new extension and creates a symmetry for the front elevation that helps the new building fit within the context of the existing building. All this is enclosed within a series of hedges that run along the lines of what would have been the hospitals external walls, creating a sheltered ‘walled’ garden, which is welcoming for visitors and enhances the setting of the chapel.

The Chapel is now in a condition and has the necessary facilities to secure its long term future as a museum and events venue. It’s been a privilege to bring this building back to life and now visitors can enjoy its Victorian architecture and understand its incredible history as part of the wider Netley Military Hospital.

Historic aerial photograph of Royal Victoria Hospital