The Birmingham nuns who inspired Call The Midwife are selling their convent in the city after almost 40 years.
The hit BBC1 show was inspired by sisters from the Community of St. John the Divine in Alum Rock during their time in London in the 1950s.
It is based on the memoirs of district nurse, Jennifer Worth, who died in 2011, but five sisters remain in the city. However, running costs have become too high at the 20-bedroom, Grade II-listed, property and it has been put on the market for £850,000.
The Anglican sisters traded Poplar in London’s East End for Birmingham in 1976.
Five remaining sisters – Christine Hoverd, Margaret Angela King, Elaine Knight, Ivy Patten and Shirley Hart – plan to continue their ministry by moving to smaller premises in Marston Green.
The Community of St. John the Divine was founded in 1848 as a nursing sisterhood helping to establish a modern system of nursing and midwifery in this country. Six sisters went to the Crimea to help Florence Nightingale.
Call The Midwife developed an army of devoted fans with its portrayal of underage pregnancy, prostitution and illegal abortions shortly after the National Health Service was founded in 1948 and nuns served alongside NHS doctors and midwives for several decades more.
However, the Sisters no longer practice nursing and midwifery now. Their ministry in Birmingham for the last 39 years has been to set up a house of prayer and hospitality.
Rob Watts, of CPBigwood, which is marketing the property, called St John’s House, said it was a chance to own a piece of history.
He said: “This is a rare opportunity to purchase a property of historic importance.
“The house is centrally located on the corner of Alum Rock Road and Moat House Road with the city centre just four miles away. It could perhaps continue in some form of community use but there may be a number of alternatives – we are open to ideas and available to talk with interested parties.”
Call the Midwife illustrated the social setting of post war Britain and the hard times people lived through, but also depicted the joy the sisters took from their work.
They described it as a realistic look at how their life used to be, and the producer took great care visiting the community in order to make sure what was being portrayed was spot on.
Today, they still provide a valuable service to the city. Last year, there were approximately 1,600 visitors to the house which offers pastoral care and responds to the needs of the poor and marginalised.
They also send out food parcels have been to the needy.
The oldest part of the property itself is believed to date back to the early 18th century but it is thought that there were buildings on the site very much earlier.
Once known as Little Bromwich Hall, later becoming a Manor House, the original hall was built within a moat probably during the 13th or 14th century. Though no visible trace of a moat survives it lives on in the Moat House Road place name.
William Ward, whose family is behind the name Ward End,sold the estates of what had then become Treaford Hall in 1850.
However, the estate of Little Bromwich appears in a court case in 1262 in which Thomas de Bromwych sued Robert de Bromwych for the title of the land.