Davidson Hospital, Girvan

Davidson Cottage Hospital, Girvan, photograph October 2022 © H.Richardson

At the end of September my husband, Chris, and I took a trip to the south-west corner of Scotland, to the Rhins of Galloway. On the way there and on the way back we stopped off at various hospitals, including this one at Girvan, on the Ayrshire coast. 

General view of the hospital from The Avenue. Photographed October 2022 © H. Richardson

This small cottage hospital was designed by the Glasgow firm of architects Watson, Salmond and Gray and built in 1921-2. It was officially opened on 15 June 1922. Thomas Davidson founded and endowed the hospital as a memorial to his mother. The Builder described the style as ‘a free treatment of the Scottish domestic’ and noted that the roofs were slated with Tilberthwaite slates (silver grey). The builders were the local masons, Thomas Blair & Son, who fashioned the handsome Auchenheath stone. They worked with J. & D. Meikle, joiners; William Auld & Son, slater, and William Miller, plasterer, all from Ayr. Tile work was carried out by Robert Brown  & Sons of Paisley and the plumbing was done by William Anderson, Ltd, Glasgow. [The Builder, 1 July 1921, p.10.]

The main front of the hospital. It has been boarded up for about eight years. Photograph © H. Richardson

When it was visited in the 1940s as part of the Scottish Hospitals Survey it was praised for its good condition. At that time it had 14 beds in two wards, and two single rooms available for maternity cases. It was mostly used for accident cases and work connected with the local medical practitioners. It had a fairly well-equipped operating theatres and good domestic offices. 

Detail of the main front. The inscription over the door reads ‘The Davidson Hospital’. Photograph © H. Richardson

It is one of my favourite Scottish cottage hospitals, but it has been on the Register of Buildings at Risk since 2014. It has been replaced by a new Community Hospital on the outskirts of Girvan.

This extension was added in 1971. An effort was made to respect the original building, being small, low, set back and with stone cladding.

Plans to turn the building into an Enterprise Centre came to nothing. More recently an application was submitted for the conversion of the building into two dwellings. I do hope that the former hospital will be cherished by its new owners.

Rear of the building. The single storey wing probably contained the kitchens, but I have never seen the original plans of the building
Lovely matching wing to the rear of the main building, although it looks of a date with the original building, it must have been built after 1963 as it does not appear on the OS map of that date.
Large-scale OS map, surveyed 1963. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland (CC-BY) NLS

4 thoughts on “Davidson Hospital, Girvan

  1. What a delightful building! I was pleased to read about it. It is clearly worthy of preservation and I hope a good use can be found for it.
    Thank you,
    Galen Bartholomew

  2. A really charming building. I hope that it gets a sympathetic renovation, as it looks really suitable for a domestic conversion. Thank you for sharing!

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