St Margaret’s Hospital, Auchterarder

Main front of St Margaret’s Hospital, photographed in 2017 © David Wotherspoon, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of D. Wotherspoon.

The cottage hospital in Auchterarder is a really good example of Scottish architectural style being applied to a public building in the inter-war years. The 1920s and 30s were not just about International Modernism or Art Deco; Gothic Revival and the Arts & Crafts styles continued to flourish and develop. Here, the Glasgow-based architects Stewart & Paterson were commissioned by Andrew Thomson Reid (1863-1940) of Auchterarder House to design a cottage hospital as a memorial to his parents. The architects had worked for Reid on additions to Auchterarder House before the First World War.

Extract from the 1:25,000 OS Map, surveyed in 1938. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Reid had been planning to build a hospital since before the First World War, but war-time conditions and their aftermath caused the project to stall.

Detail of one of the dormer heads. The initials J R commemorate James Reid, Andrew Reid’s father and the founder of the family’s wealth. Photograph © David Wotherspoon, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of D. Wotherspoon.

The initials M A R on this dormer head are of Andrew Reid’s mother, Margaret Ann Reid, née Scott. Photograph © David Wotherspoon, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of D. Wotherspoon.

Building work commenced in 1924. W. G. Gordon, builder, was awarded the contract for the mason work, and George Miler & Sons carried out the slater work. The site to the west of the town just north of Durward’s Nursery, had been granted to Reid by Auchterarder Town Council. The hospital was officially opened by the Duchess of Atholl in August 1926. Amongst the dignitaries who attended the ceremony were Andrew Thomson Reid, his brother Edward Thomas Scott Reid, Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway, Viscount Haldane and the American author and social commentator, Mary Follett, who was a guest of Lord Haldane.

South front of St Margaret’s Hospital. Photograph © David Wotherspoon, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of D. Wotherspoon.

The architects had very little past experience in hospital design and were advised in the planning of St Margaret’s by Dr D. J. Macintosh of the Western Infirmary Glasgow. The hospital had a simple symmetrical plan to provide for male patients on one side and women on the other in two public and two private wards catering for twelve patients in all. There were also the usual administrative offices, staff accommodation, kitchen and laundry as well as an operating theatre, dispensary and a boardroom.

View to the back of St Margaret’s Hospital showing later additions. Photograph © David Wotherspoon, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of D. Wotherspoon.

In 1948 the hospital became part of the National Health Service, administered by the Eastern Regional Board. Once building restrictions had been lifted, plans were made to add an out‑patient department with X-ray facilities, this was supposed to be built in 1954.

St Margaret’s Health Centre. Photograph © David Wotherspoon, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of D. Wotherspoon.

A health centre was added in the early 1990s to designs by McLaren Murdoch & Hamilton, architects, but the present health centre seems to have been built in 2001, and extended or refurbished in 2003.

The gates and stone gate piers at the foot of the drive leading to St Margaret’s Hospital. Photograph © David Wotherspoon, all rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of D. Wotherspoon.

Sources 

Minutes and letter books for the hospital from 1926-1948 are held by Perth and Kinross Archives

Journal of the R.I.B.A. Vol.XXVI, p.343: Dundee Courier, 12 April 1924, p.3; 22 July 1924, p.7; 16 Aug 1926, pp 4 and 9; 16 Oct 1952, p.4: Sunday Post, 15 Aug 1926, p.5: Perth County Council online planning: Perth and Kinross Council, Culture & Community Services, Profile of Auchterarder

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.
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