NOSTALGIA: St Nicholas Hospital, Eastgate Street – from the Spanton Jarman collection

St Nicholas Hospital, Eastgate Street

St Nicholas Hospital was founded to care for lepers circa 1220.

Following the Dissolution, part of the building was converted into a house. The tracery window from St Petronilla’s Hospital in Southgate Street was moved here after 1781 by Philip Bennet, of Rougham. The modern hospice in Bury takes its name from this medieval hospital.

-- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations. They can be viewed at where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit

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