For the last forty-five years the answer would have been, ‘Yes’, but further back in time a definite NO. Why?
No 6-8 Mill Street’s façade may not have changed much in its two-hundred-year-old history, but the buildings uses has certainly been varied.
It was built in the late eighteenth century as two separate dwellings, hence the two entrances, but reconfigured into one before 1832. At this time it was the Mill Street Commercial Academy led by Mr. William Frisby.
In the 1840’s it became Miss Charity’s Ladies Seminary, a day and boarding school, as shown in this photograph taken in 1875 of Miss Eliza Charity and some of her pupils.
After Miss Charity retired, The Franciscan Tertiary Sisterhood took possession in 1899. It became St Anthony’s Sister Convent, a home for girls with a laundry attached. This was thanks to the generosity of the Noel family of Exton who had already financed the building of a Catholic Mission Church next door.
Just a year later in 1900, it was developed into St. Anthony’s Boarding School. This cutting is taken from 12th May 1900, The Wicklow People.
in 1903 the building changed usage again to become Oakham Cottage Hospital. This was founded by Mrs. W. Baird, being prompted by the Cottesmore Hunt Committee who were concerned at the lack of hospital facilities for casualties of the hunting field. It had six beds and an operating theatre.
After the war the hospital could not accommodate the increased demand for hospital beds. Therefore in 1924, the hospital moved location to Cold Overton Road and became Rutland Memorial Hospital, which is still in use today.
For a while our building reverted to a domestic dwelling until 1936, when it reopened as Home Hospital. By 1939 it included maternity beds. In 1948 it became part of the NHS but closed in 1955 when the proprietor, Nurse Green S.R.N. retired.
Since then 6-8 Mill Street has been used by various owners in the hospitality sector. I wonder if any of these names bring back memories of enjoyable times?
Reynards Hotel and Cellar Bar (1977 – 1979)
The Rutland Angler Pub (1979 – 1999)
Calico Restaurant and Nightclub (1999)
The Mill Street Pub and Kitchen (2016 – 2019)
The Orbis Bar and Restaurant (2022)
The Angler (2022 – )
The history of 6- 8 Mill Street is not unusual in a town like Oakham which has many buildings with even longer lives. Delving into their past is fascinating and only possible with the support of national archives and our own museum’s collection.
This short blog is thanks to the much more detailed research work carried out by Jayne Williams from Rutland County Museum.
Written by: Marion Drake, volunteer