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Royal Victoria Country Park to celebrate Landmark Birthday

Monday, 03 June 2013

Royal Victoria Country Park will celebrate a special birthday this year as 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the site's former military hospital admitting its first patients.

To mark the occasion the park will be hosting a free event on Sunday 9 June from 11am-4pm which will reflect on the park's rich history.

From 1863 until 1966, the site was home to the Royal Victoria Hospital. It was more than a quarter of a mile long and the British Army's first purpose built hospital which devoted more than 100 years of service to caring for sick and wounded soldiers from across the world. Queen Victoria laid the foundation stone herself on the 19 May 1856 and visited the site over 20 times in her lifetime. The Army demolished most of the building in 1966 except the former Chapel to the hospital.

The site was acquired by Hampshire County Council and in 1980 Royal Victoria Country Park was opened to the public.

Greeting the public in her horse drawn carriage, will be 'Queen Victoria', who will bury a new time capsule to commemorate the occasion and help to plant a tree to mark its location. Military re-enactors will also be demonstrating artillery fire. In addition there will be a selection of displays, guided walks, fun-packed children's activities, brick-building workshops and a chance to climb the Chapel tower for free to enjoy the magnificent view across the Solent.

Visitors are being encouraged to bring along any historic objects they may have, as experts will be on hand on the day to help people discover more about them.

A 'Memory Wall'; will feature where people can write their reminiscences of the Royal Victoria Hospital on a brick and each brick will be used to build up a magnificent wall.

People who have any stories, memories, family connections or photos of the former military hospital and Country Park are being encouraged to share them by posting them on the park's Facebook and Twitter pages @RoyalVictoriaCP.

Recollections will be recorded for prosperity.

As part of the festivities there is a chance to win an annual car parking pass to Royal Victoria Country Park worth £49.

Those who wish to enter need to have a look at the picture of a mystery object on the park's website and click on one of three options they think the object was used for.

Winners will be picked at random and emailed.

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