The building of the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital was made possible after a very successful public fund-raising drive, though the government did contribute. The fund-raising was so successful, that there was a surplus of money, most of which was used to purchase a series of Royal Doulton tiled panels which were placed around the walls of the two wards. These panels cost £817 (equivalent to approximately $110,000 in 2004).
When the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for Children was demolished in 1988, as many of the tile panels as was possible were salvaged, the majority stored and eight were incorporated into the new hospital. The remaining ten panels were much later installed on the wall of a corridor linking the Regional Hospital with the Clinical Services Block. Unfortunately, four of the original panels did not survive - they were:
Little Boy Blue
Old Woman in a Shoe
Little Jack Horner
Each panel depicts a wonderfully illustrated nursery rhyme, and those that have survived are displayed below:
Whilst in storage, one of the panels (above left), was damaged by someone unknown who attempted to remove the work one tile at a time. The panel was beautifully restored by local artist Judith Anne Royal.
The Royal Doulton Gallery was unveiled by His Excellency the Governor-General of New Zealand, the Honourable Anand Satyanand, PCNZM on 22 April 2008.
Sources: 1. Wellington Hospital Board Minutes 28 April 1911
. 2. Wellington Children's Hospital Royal Doulton Tiles, Centenary Collection Catalogue, compiled by Maria Quigley BCS
for the Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation, CCDHB and the Wellington Children's Hospital