A BRONZE plaque has been stolen and a clay lintel smashed at the site of the former Lucy Baldwin hospital in Stourport.
It had been hoped the plaque and lintel would be used to commemorate the site, which was opened as a maternity hospital in 1929 by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, in a new housing development.
The main building has now been demolished after Wyre Forest District Council approved plans in March for developer Taylor Wimpey to construct 41 new homes on the site.
As part of the planning permission, Taylor Wimpey agreed to retain the clay lintel, situated above the main entrance,in an information board.
A spokesman for the firm said the bronze plaque was stolen and the lintel and clay plaque was damaged before Taylor Wimpey took ownership of the site. The exact date that the theft and vandalism occurred is unknown.
The hospital was a gift from philanthropist Julien Cahn to Mr Baldwin’s wife Lucy, who was keen to improve public health in Wyre Forest.
The missing plaque is made of bronze and was inside the main entrance to the hospital. It commemorated Mr Baldwin’s visit on April 16, 1929.
Pauline Annis, chairman of the Stourport Civic Society, said: “I’m angry because I pointed out the need to preserve the lintel and the plaque commemorating Stanley Baldwin’s visit.
“It was intended that the lintel would be preserved and put in a information board but it has been smashed.
“There was also a bronze plaque which was put there when Stanley Baldwin opened the hospital. It should be on public display in the town and it could have been used when the civic hall has been refurbished. It’s an important part of the town’s history.”
The district council said it was not its responsibility to restore the vandalised plaques but it will help conserve the lintel.
Conservative councillor Anne Hingley, cabinet member with responsibility for place-shaping, said: “To assist the property developer, our conservation officer has sought advice from specialists at English Heritage on the best techniques to repair the damaged plaque on the lintel, and when we get this it will be forwarded to the property developers.”
A Taylor Wimpey spokesman said the company was looking into ways of restoring the lintel.
He said: “As part of our commitment to commemorating the hospital for the community, we have commissioned a public art feature and we are looking to hear from anybody who can let us know the inscription on the stolen plaque so that these words can be incorporated into the final piece.
“Failing that, we will approach the local authority to suggest relevant wording for the art installation.”
Anyone with information should contact Taylor Wimpey by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org