08:00 30 September 2015
A FORMER tuberculosis hospital has been given Grade II* listed status by Historic England.
St Michael’s Cheshire Home in Axbridge, formerly St Michael’s Free Home For Consumptives, has been added to the list for being a site of architectural and historic interest.
The Grade II* listing means it is an important building of more than a special interest.
The building, in Cheddar Road, was designed by renowned architect William Butterfield in 1878.
It was founded by Matilda Gibbs, the wife of businessman William Gibbs who developed Tyntesfield in Wraxall.
Mr Gibbs and three of the couple’s seven children died due to tuberculosis.
When it opened, the hospital had 24 beds for patients with tuberculosis, and it was extended in 1882 to accommodate a further 26 patients.
There was also a farm in its grounds, which patients could help to run.
A cemetery was added in 1886.
Antibiotics were steadily discovered in the middle of the 20th century, and the rate of tuberculosis began to decline.
St Michael’s stopped being used solely as a tuberculosis hospital in 1956.
Its listing says it has an ‘exceptionally high level’ of architectural quality both inside and outside, including a Gothic Revival chapel.
It also has historic interest because Mr Gibbs was a prominent businessman.
William Butterfield was one of the foremost Gothic Revival architects in the 19th century and had a long association with the Gibbs family.