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The Frank James Hospital

The Frank James Hospital, Isle of Wight. Hospital: Empty since 2002.


Lovely cottage hospital in excellent location. Originally gifted to the people of East Cowes and housed retired seamen.

The Frank James Hospital

The Frankie James Song

Built in 1903 in the Dutch Style as a memorial to Frank James who did much travelling to Africa in his yacht and was killed by an elephant in 1890. The wind vane on top of the hospital is a model of James’ yacht.

Sold by the NHS Trust in 2002, the site has a group of individual owners who apparently bought into it as an investment scheme. A street of ‘enabling development’ was permitted but did not lead to a solution for the building, which is currently on the UK Buildings at Risk register.

The Friends, formed in March 2012, have been holding monthly clean-ups, guerrilla gardening and protecting the building. Officers had been wrongly advising that it is impossible to take enforcement action when a new planning application has been submitted.

Community solution

Friends of the Frank James


  1. Steve Goodman

    Posted 18/12/14 at 10:00 am  |  Permalink

    The owners have just made a token payment for some long overdue work done by the Friends to stop a recent spate of entries by vandals – their first spending since our campaign started.

    Entry to FJ had become easy because of the failure of the NHS estates management to properly secure the adjoining empty former health centre site, which is increasingly looking like another potential CADO case.

  2. Tanja Rebel

    Posted 03/01/15 at 6:27 pm  |  Permalink

    CADO has kindly offered the Isle of Wight Council aid with legal costs if they issue an Urgent Works Notice. The Council has in the past given a whole series of excuses for not issuing one, despite initially telling the Friends of Frank James it would be issued and despite over 3000 signatures asking for one. However, now those excuses no longer hold and the Friends are now eagerly awaiting action from the Council to finally help save this much cherished building. In the meantime, we continue to do what we can to prevent further decay.

  3. Steve Goodman

    Posted 11/01/15 at 9:41 am  |  Permalink

    FJ is featured in the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings winter magazine.

    SPAB are also offering the Friends a small grant for work done.

  4. Steve Goodman

    Posted 11/01/15 at 9:49 am  |  Permalink

    Recent ‘drone’ film of FJ

  5. Carmelle

    Posted 11/01/15 at 12:14 pm  |  Permalink

    I’m a supporter of the Frank James Hospital Building and others and amazed to see Housing built on the grounds, which I had not realised until I saw the Footage taken by the Drone Camera, which is well worth watching.
    Keep up the Great Work Everyone…

    • Steve Goodman

      Posted 12/01/15 at 5:53 pm  |  Permalink

      Those houses demonstrate the danger of allowing some delinquent owners to build ‘enabling development’ first, then disappear with the profit before completing the main job.

      Now even more ‘enabling development’ in the once fabulous FJ grounds, and more disfiguring extension & alteration of the main building, will probably have to be allowed to return this listed property to use.

  6. Tanja Rebel

    Posted 11/01/15 at 11:31 pm  |  Permalink

  7. Tanja Rebel

    Posted 18/01/15 at 11:03 am  |  Permalink

    Please find below the link to our newest Frank James Video! Note, no singing this time! The video has been filmed and edited by young Josh Aiken.

  8. Tanja Rebel

    Posted 18/01/15 at 11:06 am  |  Permalink

    Whoops! I gave you the link to this website by mistake! Here comes the proper link:

  9. Steve Goodman

    Posted 04/03/15 at 4:59 pm  |  Permalink

    Today is the third anniversary of our guerrilla gardening entry to start the campaign – since when we, not the absentee owners, have been the keyholders. Their revised planning application is now ‘live’; new comments may be submitted by April 3rd (previously submitted comments will still be considered as part of the process). The latest proposal includes a 2 storey extension and a pair of ‘semi’s’ in the grounds, neither of which would have been thought necessary if the previous council had acted at the right time (one of the reasons they lost the last election; the 2 new local councillors are FJ Friends with no previous active political experience).

  10. Steven Goodman

    Posted 10/03/15 at 11:05 pm  |  Permalink

    Our 3rd anniversary video, by Josh (who joined us aged 14 & is now working for the National Trust).

  11. Steven Goodman

    Posted 09/05/15 at 9:34 am  |  Permalink


    Thanks to CADO, the council has finally served an UWN; long overdue work on the roof is likely to start soon, & the job will be done by a specialist who had previously contacted the Friends & offered to help.

    The problematic adjoining empty site now has new owners, who have improved security (with another FJ professional Friend given that job) and started sympathetic redevelopment.

    FJ security also further improved following another attempted entry, to be paid for by SPAB (& another tiny token payment from the owner’s agent)

    Some of the owners are still disagreeing with each other about the latest planning application.

    We expect our re-elected MP to continue to be a FJ Friend.

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