Melton’s former military hospital Wicklow Lodge to be honoured with prestigious green plaque thanks to your votes

Melton historian Derek Simmonds outside Wicklow Lodge EMN-160629-135911001
Melton historian Derek Simmonds outside Wicklow Lodge EMN-160629-135911001
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A former military hospital in Melton which treated some of the wounded from the Battle of the Somme nearly a century ago is to be honoured with a prestigious green plaque thanks to your votes.

Wicklow Lodge, on Burton Road, is one of six places and people to be honoured after receiving the most public votes out of 12 shortlisted candidates.

Wicklow Lodge had been a hunting lodge but was commissioned for use as an auxiliary military hospital in August 1914 in anticipation of a high casualty rate in the battles with German forces on the other side of the English Channel during the First World War.

The lodge was loaned out for use as a hospital by owner Herbert George Fenwick for the duration of the war.

From an initial meeting at the town’s Corn Exchange with business owners, shopkeepers and interested residents in August 1914, the building was identified and then transformed into a fully operational hospital inside five months.

The hospital, which was financed, run and fully supported by the people of Melton and district, treated 1,484 sick and wounded soldiers in the First World War.

Melton historian Derek Simmonds, who has previously written a book about the lodge, had urged Melton people to vote for it to receive a green plaque.

The green plaque awards scheme was set up by Leicestershire County Council leader Nick Rushton to recognise and celebrate people and places which have made an important and enduring contribution to the county.

Mr Simmonds said: “I’m delighted Wicklow Lodge is among the winners. The green plaque will cement its place in the town’s history and ensure it will not be forgotten.”

Councillor Peter Lewis, the county council’s deputy cabinet member for green plaques said: “We received a record 5,000 votes and I want to thank everyone who got behind their favourite and supported the scheme.

“We’ll now work hard to get these next six plaques installed as we continue to celebrate the people and places of Leicestershire’s rich history.”

More details on the winners can be found at www.leicestershire.gov.uk/greenplaques