The historic ambulance station in Market Harborough is poised to go under the hammer next week.
The much-loved 98-year-old building on Abbey Street in the town centre is being sold by St John Ambulance.
And it’s set to be snapped up for at least £270,000 when it’s offered to bidders at a London-based property sales company’s online auction on Tuesday (June 14).
The Grade II-listed station is being sold because St John Ambulance, the UK’s leading first aid charity, has been seriously hit by the two-year Covid pandemic.
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Mark Squires, the organisation’s operational support director, said earlier this year: “I’d like to assure everyone that we are acutely aware of this beautiful building’s listed status and will continue to take great care of it as our volunteers move out ahead of the property’s sale.
“It’s always sad to say goodbye to properties – especially one with such a proud history as our base in Market Harborough.
“But the financial impact of the pandemic has made us take some difficult decisions to reduce our charity’s running costs,” said Mark.
"Despite these premises’ closure, St John Ambulance remains active in the local area.
“We will continue supporting the community through first aid, training, and other work that helps improve people’s health and saves lives.”
The iconic ambulance station dates back to 1924 – when it was purpose built in the town centre for 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.
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 top local architect Herbert Coales.
Constructed in Queen Anne Revival style – a look influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement - it features high quality brickwork and glazed tiles.