|Christ Church Roxeth Churchyard||Harrow|
Roxeth was a small hamlet that was formerly part of the parish of Harrow on the Hill until the new parish was formed in 1863, and Christ Church was built to serve the growing population. There was a burial ground here by 1873, which was open for burials until at least 1942. Adjacent to the wooded churchyard and contiguous with it is Roxeth Hill Burial Ground, which was established by Roxeth Burial Board in 1902.
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Roxeth, formerly called Hroces Seath, was a small hamlet consisting of a few farms and cottages within the parish of Harrow on the Hill. A church here is mentioned in the will of Abbot Werhard in 832 AD in which daily masses for the friends of Christ Church were held, and there was apparently some kind of monastery at one time. As the area became more populous, a new parish of Roxeth was formed in 1863, and Christ Church was the first new church to be built in the old parish of Harrow on the Hill. Built on a sloping site, Christ Church was designed by George Gilbert Scott in 1862, a flint-faced building with bell turret and plate tracery, reminiscent of a country church; in 1979 a west extension was added designed by K C White and Partners. By the end of the C19th Roxeth had developed to the extent of having a drill hall, small sewage farm, hospital and mission hall in addition to housing, although until the early 1920s there were still orchards in the area.
There was a burial ground here by 1873, which was open for burials until at least 1942. Surrounding the church on three sides, the hilly burial ground contains numerous trees including various conifers, yews and evergreen trees and shrubs, with numerous bulbs among the gravestones in the spring. The main wide driveway from Roxeth Hill leads to a car park and the church, in front of which is a tall cedar. At the entrance, either side of the drive, are the remains of wooden gate piers. Adjacent to the churchyard and contiguous with it is the Roxeth Hill Burial Ground, which was established by Roxeth Burial Board in 1902. When the Burial Board disbanded, responsibility passed to Harrow Urban District Council and it is now within the responsibility of LB Harrow Cemeteries Office.
Roxeth Vicarage was formerly adjacent to the church on Roxeth Hill but in c.1933 it was converted to provide student accommodation for the nearby Harrow and Wealdstone Hospital, becoming known as the Sydney Walton Nurses Hostel. After the hospital closed in 1998, the nurses home was empty for many years, becoming neglected, but by 2008 it had been redeveloped by Christ Church and Ealing YMCA as an independently accessed hostel of 42 one-bedroom units. The building has an interesting figurative bronze relief above the stone name plaque recalling its use as the Nurses Hostel. The hospital originated in 1866 as Harrow Cottage Hospital when Dr W Hewlett leased two cottages on Roxeth Hill for the purpose. The leases having run out, in 1872 a small purpose-built hospital of 11 beds was built in Lower Road, but later plans were put forward for a larger general hospital. A 3.5 acre site was purchased on Roxeth Hill adjacent to the Vicarage and the new hospital with 18 beds opened in 1907, which was described as the 'prettiest cottage hospital in the country'. It was renamed Harrow Hospital in 1924 although between 1931 and 1945 it was called Harrow and Wealdstone Hospital. During that time it expanded and also established a Training School for nurses. It became part of the NHS in 1948 and was further extended over the years. In 1974, following a major NHS reorganisation, it became part of the Harrow District Health Authority, but by 1984, the number of beds had been reduced to 55 and it finally closed in 1998, with 53 beds for the care of the elderly. The hospital site was redeveloped in 2006 by Barratt Homes as The Grange, a gated housing estate in Cottage Close, the hospital buildings converted into luxury apartments, with new townhouses and apartments built on the site, set in mature landscaped gardens.
Bridget Cherry and Nikolaus Pevsner, 'The Buildings of England London 3: North West' (Penguin, 1999 ed), p260; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993), p679; London Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches data; 'Harrow Hospital' on Lost Hospitals of London http://ezitis.myzen.co.uk/harrow.html/