Harborough's Historic ambulance station awarded Grade II listing to help protect it for generations to come

The 97-year-old building on Abbey Street dates back to 1924

By Red Williams
Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 12:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th December 2021, 12:36 pm
The historic ambulance station in Market Harborough has been awarded a Grade II listing to help protect it for generations to come.
The historic ambulance station in Market Harborough has been awarded a Grade II listing to help protect it for generations to come.

The historic ambulance station in Market Harborough has been awarded a Grade II listing to help protect it for generations to come.

The emblematic 97-year-old building on Abbey Street dates back to 1924 – when it was purpose built for the St John Ambulance Association.

There was no national ambulance provision as responsibility for taking ill or injured people to hospital fell to local authorities until the National Health Service Act of 1946.

The historic ambulance station in Market Harborough has been awarded a Grade II listing to help protect it for generations to come.

Ambulance stations were often convenient places to store equipment.

They ranged from sheds attached to police stations to the more ambitious designs of the St John Ambulance Association, which was set up in 1877.

Market Harborough’s ambulance station, built in the town centre almost a century ago as the headquarters for the local St John Ambulance division, is a rare surviving example.

In response to the introduction of motorised ambulances, which had begun around 1912, it was designed with direct access to the road by local architect Herbert George Coales.

Constructed in Queen Anne Revival style – a look influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement - it features high quality brickwork and glazed tiles.

The exceptionally-precious station even retains its original folding garage doors – and that is very rare.

Coales, with his partner Henry Winter Johnson, designed several buildings as Market Harborough quickly expanded after the First World War.

The ambulance station, together with the Grade II-listed fire station on Abbey Street and firefighters’ houses, also masterminded by Coales and Johnson, are an “important group of municipal buildings that illustrate historic provision of emergency services in the town”.

Historic England Director, Midlands, Louise Brennan said: “It is an honour to highlight buildings that have served communities in the Midlands during times of need.

“These services quite rightly should be celebrated - and we are delighted to have listed these great examples of buildings that have enabled years of public duty.”

Heritage Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "Listing these significant historic sites means we can protect our valuable heritage for future generations to learn from and ensure they are on the map for local people and visitors to be proud of and enjoy.

“This year's entries on to the list span the length and breadth of the country and have something to inspire everyone."