Impressed by a tuberculosis sanatorium he visited while touring Germany, in 1901 King Edward VII decided to found one similar in England. The site chosen was on a bright, south facing hillside near Midhurst with open views to the South Downs.
“The King’s Sanatorium” was founded in 1901 to care for those suffering from tuberculosis and was officially opened on the 13th June 1906 by His Majesty King Edward VII, who gave assent for the institution to be called the King Edward VII Sanatorium. At the time when the sanatorium was designed it was heralded as a significant advancement in the treatment of the sick, where the importance of rest, relaxation, fresh air and light were incorporated into the buildings and surroundings as these were seen as equally important to the treatment of patients as the medical intervention. After the eradication of tuberculosis the sanatorium was transformed into a modern hospital admitting NHS and private patients with all types of illnesses. It also specialised in cancer care, cardiology and facial reconstruction.
The hospital was designed by Charles Holden and Percy Adams. Charles Holden went on to become a leading English architect who is best known for his designs in the 1920s and 1930s of London Underground stations. He was also a highly regarded figure in the architectural community, with Charles Rennie Macintosh being one of the key figures he is known to have influenced. The hospital was highly acclaimed in the architectural press when completed. It was said to be “one of the three finest of the time” in the Royal Commission survey of English Hospitals: 1660 to 1948, and was highly praised by Pevsner. Charles Holden could have been Sir Charles Holden, but he turned down the offer.
Until the 1950’s the building fared well, with the necessary extensions being designed in a sensitive manner. However, from the 1960’s onwards such sensitivity was put aside, with the practicalities of a hospital being the overriding influence. These unfortunate additions paid little regard to the historic architecture and landscape. Despite this much of the historic fabric and quality remains, and the upgrading to Grade II* listing in 2004 for the main building and chapel underline the importance of this collection of historic buildings.
After 1964, the hospital was used for more general purposes. Over the years, many unsympathetic modern additions were made to the original Grade II and II* listed buildings.
The hospital eventually closed in 2006. Thereafter, it lay abandoned and in decline.
In 2009 City & Country purchased the Estate.
All unsightly interventions have been removed and the buildings meticulously restored to their former glory.