Lennox Castle

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Lennox Castle in 2014, photographed by Robert Adam at RCAHMS One of a series of aerial photographs of the site

Lennox Castle has been on the Buildings at Risk register for Scotland since 1992, the website provides a good summary of the history of the building and the site. Rather wonderfully, the Book of Lennox Castle produced for the opening ceremony of the hospital in 1936 has been scanned and put online by S J McLaughlin, who has charted the history of the hospital and includes numerous photographs. Records from the hospital are deposited with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives.

An extraordinary aerial photo  posted early in 2014 shows part of the site after the patients’ blocks had been demolished. In 2006 planning permission was granted for this area to be developed as the Celtic FC training centre. Below is an aerofilms photograph, taken from the north in 1953, showing Lennox Castle on the right, and the patients’  blocks to the left. But this was only a part of the hospital site overall. The OS map from 1958 shows the other sections of the hospital. At this date the blocks to the north-east formed a separate maternity hospital.

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Aerial photograph 1953 in the collection of RCAHMS

The aerial photograph of that section of the hospital (below) was taken in 1953. It was turned into a maternity unit in 1941, as part of the Emergency Medical Scheme during the Second World War and continued as such until 1964. All the buildings were demolished to make way for a housing development, for which planning permission was granted in 2006.

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Aerial photograph 1953 in the collection of RCAHMS

Below is the gazetteer entry from 1990. I remember the hospital quite well, it was one that was particularly impressive, architecturally and for its setting. It was quite a shock to see what has happened since.

LENNOX CASTLE HOSPITAL, LENNOXTOWN   Lennox Castle, situated at the western edge of the hospital complex, was built between 1837 and 1841 to designs by David Hamilton.

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Lennox Castle, before it became a roofless ruin, photographed by RCAHMS

It was designed in a picturesque neo‑Norman style with castellated and battered walls, and an imposing porte‑cochere. There are some fine interiors on the principal floor but the building has suffered badly from subsidence. The external stonework is also in very poor condition near the ground and has been roughly patched up with concrete rendering.

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View of the dining-room ceiling at Lennox Castle, photograph from RCAHMS, nd.

In April 1925 Glasgow Parish Council resolved to build a new Mental Deficiency Institution under the provisions of the 1913 Act. In 1927 Lennox Castle and its vast estate were purchased, and plans prepared for what was to be the largest and best equipped hospital of this type in Britain. It was to provide 1,200 beds at a cost of 1.25 million. Work began in 1929 to designs by Wylie, Shanks & Wylie. The hospital was finally completed in 1936. The site was divided into five sections; a male division, a female division, a hospital section, married staff houses and the engine house. The male and female sections each consisted of ten dormitory blocks for 60 patients. These were split into two main wards with 28 beds and two side rooms with two beds, together with a day‑room and sanitary annexe. Meals were to be provided in two central dining‑halls capable of seating 600 patients each. Above the dining‑hall, accommodation was provided for unmarried male attendants.

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The Assembly Hall, Lennox Castle Hospital, photographed around 1990 © Harriet Richardson

Lennox Castle itself was adapted into a nurses’ home. There was also a central Assembly Hall for all the patients, it contained a large hall with a stage and equipment for cinema shows as well as some administrative offices. All the new blocks were built of brick and incorporated many innovative features, in particular the heating system which operated on a system of underground tunnels.

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The dining-hall block, Lennox Castle Hospital, photographed about 1990 © Harriet Richardson

There is a considerable variety of plan and composition which add interest to the site. It is a scheme of high quality and the Assembly Hall and dining‑halls in particular deserve attention. Both make use of arched windows on the ground floor and each has a central bold entrance bay. On the Assembly hall this comprises a grand arch rising the full‑height of the building and framing the porch, and on the dining‑hall blocks the door is set into an arch, which in turn is in a tall gabled centrepiece. The varied roof-line also adds interest. The low pitch behind the parapet caps the two‑storey Assembly Hall block, while the steeply pitched roof, with first‑floor dormers, dominates the dining‑halls. A charming octagonal tea‑room in two tiers with plenty of windows, echoes the tea pavilion at Glen‑o‑Dee Hospital.

During the Second World War the hospital was incorporated in the Emergency Medical Scheme and hutted ward blocks were constructed near the Castle. A maternity unit was established at the site in 1941 which remained until 1964. [Sources: Glasgow Corporation, The Book of Lennox Castle, Glasgow, c.1936. Glasgow Herald, 15 May 1936, p.12; 29 Sept. 1936, (ill.): RCAHMS, Inventory, Stirling, Vol.2, p.358.]

About Harriet Richardson

I am an architectural historian, working on the Survey of London at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. I have worked on surveys of hospital architecture in Scotland and England.
This entry was posted in asylum, country house, Maternity Hospital, mental hospital, Scottish Hospitals, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Lennox Castle

  1. I was born in Lennox castle in 1955, I wonder if anyone could send me a photo of the maternity home? so I could show my children. Thank you.xx

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