Peace Hospice Care is part of the original Peace Memorial Hospital which was built in 1925 as a memorial to those killed in the First World War. The local community originally raised money for the hospital by buying bricks for 6d each. In the 1930s, when the Peace Memorial Hospital was raising money to build an extra wing. For the price of a few old pence, the Hospital sold pencil rubbers one and a half inches long resembling a brick. The campaign was promoted under the slogan “Buy a Brick and be a Brick”.
The hospital closed in 1985 and the building sadly fell into dereliction. In 1991, the community once again gathered together to save the historic building and the South West Herts Hospice appeal was launched.
Echoing our historic beginnings, in September 1994, a fundraising appeal was launched to raise £450,000 for a new inpatient unit. For a minimum £5 donation, supporters were given a small red enamel badge in the shape of a brick. The bricks were available in the Hospice’s fundraising shops, and were also sold through Watford Football Club. The Watford Observer supported the campaign.
Building work began in 1995 and the new facility was officially opened by HRH Princess Michael of Kent the following year.
In an interview for our history archive, Lucy Barber, who worked with Peace Hospice Care between 1992 – 2014 as first a Charity Shop Manager, Voluntary Services Organiser and then Receptionist, reflected on the feeling that the Hospice belongs to the local community,
“Every family in Watford had given a brick … to build that place [Peace Memorial Hospital and later, Peace Hospice], so they thought it was their own… As a building it used to hug you … it was built with love”. Lucy Barber
Find out more about Peace Hospice Care’s history by exploring our archive online or visiting our forthcoming exhibition: “Built With Love: 25 Years of Peace Hospice Care”, 29 September – 29 October 2016, Watford Museum.