The building was constructed in 1943 during World War Two as a hospital for American war casualties.
Until 1995, the Ministry of Defence and other Government Departments occupied part of the building. The remaining parts housed the Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre.
In 1994, when the Artificial Limb and Appliance Centre was moved to a newly built hospital nearby, the space it vacated was let to voluntary organisations.
The campaign to save the building
The fight to save the building from demolition was led by David Baker and Sue McMullen, who at that time was Chair of the Disabled Living Centre, one of the charities based in the building. The campaign was supported by disabled people and disability charities, and was backed by Help the Aged and Bristol City Council.
The battle is won
A three year campaign to save the building reached a successful conclusion in 1998. The building was saved and was purchased for £350,000, significantly below its market value, on condition that it would be used for the benefit of disabled people, carers and voluntary organisations. This victory, achieved despite overwhelming odds, was largely due to the leadership of David Baker, at that time, Chairman of Bristol Council for Disabled Adults (BCDA). Sadly, David died not long after the transformation of the building began.
BCDA was wound up and its assets transferred to a newly formed charity, The Vassall Centre Trust, which was set up to manage the building and its services.