Princess Alexandra is to pay a visit to Lancaster at the end of May to open a new building and celebrate two anniversaries which also acknowledge the generosity of some of the city’s previous mayors. The visit, scheduled for Wednesday 29 May, will see her visit the new Lancaster Community Fire & Ambulance Station in Cable Street, Penny’s Hospital Alms Houses in West Street, and Westfield War Memorial Village in West Road during her stay.
She will begin her visit at Cable Street, where the old Fire Station has been rebuilt to include the ambulance station which was formerly in Newton. Quite often nowadays firefighters act as service responders for the ambulance service. Plus being in the same building means the two services can practice scenarios like people trapped in damaged cars together.
Penny’s Hospital Almshouses were built following a bequest of £700 in the will of Thomas Penney, a former Mayor of Lancaster who died in 1716. Built originally as 12 almshouses and a chapel, one of the houses has subsequently become a warden’s house and two of the houses were rebuilt at the beginning of the twentieth century, following road widening. The houses now form part of the Lancaster charity which has 55 properties across the city, currently being upgraded are the oldest in their portfolio. The chapel and gateway are Grade II* listed.
The Princess will then go to Westfield Village, where she will meet residents, veterans and trustees. Westfield was founded by the Storey family for service veterans following World War I and took its name from Westfield House, a former residence of Sir Thomas Storey. An industrialist and philanthropist, he was Mayor of Lancaster and a keen supporter of projects within Lancaster. It was his children who gave the land at Westfield to Thomas Mawson. He was a local architect who had lost a son, killed in action in 1915; he had a determination to design and build industrial and economically self-supporting villages for disabled ex-soldiers and their families. The Storey family have, however, maintained their interest and one of the family has been a trustee for the entire of the villages one-hundred year-history.
Princess Alexandra is the sister of the Duke of Kent and cousin to The Queen. Eighty-two on Christmas Day, she has had a long association with Lancaster and was Chancellor of the University from the inception in 1964 until 2004. As part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of being granted city status in 1987, she was given the Honourary Freedom of the City.