It replaced an earlier building on the site built in 1844-5 to designs by David Smith. The origins of Arbroath Infirmary lay with the establishment of a dispensary in 1836. During an epidemic of typhus in 1842 a small ward was set aside to take fever patients. Funds were then raised to build a new hospital.
Bristowe and Homes’s account of the Hospitals of the United Kingdom, published in 1866, described the infirmary as it then existed as a single, long building of two floors with the kitchen and offices built out behind, containing six wards on the ground and first floor with sixty beds. By the early years of the twentieth century the infirmary was overcrowded, and it was rebuilt on the standard pavilion plan, of two storeys with an H-shaped layout.
It looks to have been built on a tight budget. Nevertheless, it has survived relatively intact and is a good example of the smaller general hospitals of the early twentieth century. The open sun veranda at the end of the ward to the left has only recently been enclosed at first-floor level.
The Queen Mother maternity wing was added in 1961, by Baxter, Clark and Paul for the Eastern Regional Health Board.
[Sources: The Builder, 7 March 1896, p.217; Glasgow Herald, 21 Jan. 1913; 15 Feb. 1913; 13 March 1913: RCAHMS, National Monuments Record of Scotland; architectural index, gives David Smith as the architect of the infirmary.]
ARBROATH AND ST VIGEANS POORHOUSE, BRECHIN ROAD, ARBROATH (demolished) The poorhouse for Arbroath and St Vigeans was designed by William Aitkenhead in 1864.
The surviving original plans show a two storey building with a steep pitched roof. While retaining the basic outline of the typical poorhouses of that date, with its symmetrical façade and gabled end bays, Aitkenhead introduced a few decorative elements to relieve the austerity of the design. In the drawings, a tall and narrow gabled centre bay rose like a tower above eaves level with canted bay windows at ground and first floor levels. The doorways on the main façade were enlivened by crow-stepped pediments. It had been demolished by 1960, and the area developed for housing. [Sources: Scottish Record Office, plans: RHP 30857/1-10: see also www.workhouses.org]
BRECHIN INFIRMARY, Infirmary Street The Brechin Infirmary opened as a general voluntary hospital in 1869. Groome’s Gazetteer notes that it was built at a cost of £1,900.
Dismissed as ‘Dour’ by John Gifford in his brief notice in the Buildings of Scotland guide to Dundee and Angus, not without justification.
The hospital was designed by William Fettis or Fetties, and is a plain two-storey building with a pedimented centre range. It is situated on the north side of Infirmary Street, to the west of the former poorhouse (now St Drostans House), and south-east of the isolation hospital. [Sources: Francis H. Groome, Ordnance Gazetteer – Scotland, Edinburgh, 1892]
CHARLETON MATERNITY HOME, MONTROSE Charleton House was built in the early‑nineteenth century and remodelled in 1892 by R. Rowand Anderson. What was presumably an earlier house on the site was acquired by George Carnegie in 1769, whose wife, Susan, was the foundress of the Montrose Lunatic Asylum.
In 1946 the owner, Mrs W. P. L. Wilkie, agreed to sell the house to the managers of Montrose Infirmary. They converted the house into a maternity unit and was officially opened by Mrs E. F. Lyell on 2 July 1948, just two days prior to the inauguration of the National Health Service. An un‑named Aberdeen architect was employed to carry out the conversion into a hospital and a ward block was added on the right‑hand side of the drive. Nineteen beds were provided. A nurses’ home was planned for the other side. The Home closed c.1980. [References: Aberdeen Journal, 3 July 1948, p.4]
COUNTY HOSPITAL, INFIRMARY STREET, BRECHIN Provided as the county infectious diseases hospital by the local authority, the hospital was situated next to Brechin Infirmary, and near the poorhouse. All three institutions were on the eastern edge of the town, between the cemetery and Victoria Park (see map, above, under Brechin Infirmary).
The plans were drawn up by T. Martin Cappon in 1897. By 1940 it had been converted into accommodation for the aged and infirm. [Sources: RCAHMS, National Monuments Record of Scotland, drawings collection.]
DORWARD’S HOUSE OF REFUGE, MONTROSE, now Dorward House Built in 1838-9 from funds gifted by William Dorwood, as a large home for the poor and destitute of Montrose. Possibly designed by James Brewster.
EDZELL CONVALESCENT HOME, Inveriscandye Road, Edzell The Convalescent Home at Edzell was gifted by the Johnston family of Montrose for the benefit of patients from Montrose Royal Infirmary. It had been established in a converted building by 1888, but by the beginning of the twentieth century was considered old and imperfectly ventilated. Plans for a new building were approved in 1907 for the new home on a site on the edge of the village. Building work was halted in 1908 and the clerk of works sacked over the quality of the materials used in construction. The home is a handsome red sandstone building, of modest proportions: two storeys, with the garden front arranged in three bays, the outer bays advancing slightly and with shaped gables, and a corresponding false gable over the centre. In 1965 it became Angus House, a centre for educational excursions by Angus school children. In 2009 planning permission was granted for change of use and alterations to create a single private dwelling. [Sources: 3rd Statistical Account ‑ Angus ]
FORFAR INFIRMARY, ARBROATH ROAD The hospital opened on 28 July 1862. A public meeting was held in 1860 ‘for the purpose of resolving as to the erection of an Infirmary for the town of Forfar and the Central part of the County’.
Originally it provided 36 beds, comprising sixteen beds for typhus fever patients, four beds for scarlet fever and small‑ pox cases and sixteen beds for surgical cases.
In 1927 a new nurses’ home was built with funds provided by Sir James Duncan of Kinnettles. The hospital was closed following the opening in 2005 of the new community hospital, the Whitehills Health and Community Care Centre, on the site of the former infectious diseases hospital (see Whitehills Hospital below). The old infirmary was then sold to developers and the building demolished.
FORFAR POORHOUSE (mostly demolished) Originally situated on the outskirts of the town, Forfar Poorhouse was designed by David Smart in 1859‑60.
Later it became known as Lordburn House, after the 1929 Local Government Act. The entrance block survives, while housing has been built over the remainder of the poorhouse site. A detached infirmary, built at the same time as the poorhouse, also survives to the north on the other side of the Arbroath Road. [Sources: Dundee City Archives; Scottish Record Office, plans, RHP 30858/1‑23]
FYFE JAMIESON MATERNITY HOSPITAL, BANKHEAD ROAD, FORFAR The Maternity Home opened in April 1939 and is dated 1937 over the entrance. Built of brick and rendered, with stone dressings, it was a good example of its type. It was designed by A. Henderson, architect, A. Stewart was the building contractor. At the opening ceremony Henderson presented Lady Airlie with a golden key, with which to perform the ceremony, while Stewart presented her with a motoring rug. Mrs Fyfe Jamieson provided £20,000 to build the hospital. There was still a pleasant garden ground to the rear in the 1980s. The hospital closed in 1993 and the site has since been cleared for redevelopment. [Sources: Glasgow Herald, 5 April 1939]
JENNYSWELL HOUSE, COLLISTON Jennyswell, or Jennieswells House, was built as a convalescent home for Arbroath Infirmary in 1890-1, with funds gifted by John Duncan of Parkhill and his broth Alex. Duncan of Rhode Island, U.S.A.
The house survives, little altered externally, but has been a private residence since the 1960s. It is a two-storey stone-built dwelling of three bays. It was sold in 2017 by the family that had acquired it in 1966. [Sources: Savilles Estate Agents sales particulars: Dundee Evening Telegraph, 29 Feb 1916, p.5]
LITTLE CAIRNIE HOSPITAL, ARBROATH (largely demolished) A fever hospital was established by Arbroath Burgh c.1870. In 1899 a competition was held for a new epidemic hospital, this was to be erected at the joint expense of the Burgh and District Committees of Forfar County Council to a cost of around £10,000. The competition was won by Hugh Gavin, of Arbroath, and the hospital completed in June 1903.
The T-plan block to the north added in about the 1920s was probably for TB patients. In 1950 the hospital was converted for geriatric patients. From 2013 there were fears that the hospital might be closed, and early in 2015 the last two patients in the hospital were discharged. [Sources: The Builder, 27 June 1903, p.664.]
MONTROSE INFECTIOUS DISEASES HOSPITAL The hospital was situated adjacent to the Montrose RAF station.
MONTROSE ROYAL INFIRMARY The Montrose Infirmary was built to designs by a Glasgow architect, James Collie, and opened in 1839. It was built in a Greek revival style with a central tetrastyle portico with fluted Greek doric columns. The foundation of the infirmary was linked with that of the lunatic asylum which began in 1781 as the Montrose Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary and Dispensary.
The one building served its mixed purpose until this separate building was provided for the Infirmary. It accepted most cases, including infectious diseases, which created obvious problems of cross‑infection. These conditions were described in the mid‑nineteenth century by a local historian:
‘During the eighteen months over which the admission of smallpox were spread, much annoyance and inconvenience was experienced from the fact that it was necessary to receive into the same wards, at the same time, patients labouring under this disease and fever. The result was that many of those treated for fever, during their convalescence, contracted smallpox and vice versa.’
Some time after this two separate fever wards were added in an effort to contain the spread of such infectious diseases. The infirmary has survived with relatively few alterations. The main facade of two storeys in blond sandstone is symmetrical. The centre three bays are advanced and surmounted by a pediment, the entrance is set between fluted doric columns in antis. Three bays flank this centre‑piece to which a later addition has been built on the south return. [Sources: David Mitchell, History of Montrose, 1866]
MONTROSE ROYAL LUNATIC ASYLUM (demolished) The Montrose Asylum was the first such institution to be founded in Scotland. Its foundation was largely due to Susan Carnegie of Charleton who was moved by the plight of lunatics imprisoned in Montrose Tollbooth. With Provost Christie, Mrs Carnegie organized subscriptions to fund the establishment of an asylum. The first meeting of subscribers was held on 5 July 1779 at which it was decided to build a lunatic hospital at a cost not exceeding £500. The original building was completed in June 1781 and the first patient was admitted in May 1782.
Initially it also served as an infirmary and dispensary but this side of its work was separated when the new Montrose Royal Infirmary was built in 1839. It was at this time that W. A. F. Browne was working as the physician superintendent at the asylum before he moved to the new Dumfries Asylum in that year. It was Browne who had recommended that the infirmary patients should be catered for in a separate building By the middle of the nineteenth century the buildings had become desperately overcrowded, despite various additions and alterations to the building. In 1855 the need for a new accommodation was recognised and a committee was appointed to look for a new site. In the same year a Royal Commission was appointed to enquire into the state of lunatic asylums in Scotland which severely criticised the existing building. By 1857 when the new asylum was under construction there were 250 patients in the old asylum. In 1858 the new building was completed (see under Sunnyside Royal Hospital). However, the old asylum continued in use until 1866 when it was leased to the Montrose Harbour Commissioners and used for a time as barracks.
The accommodation provided in the old asylum by the mid‑ nineteenth century followed the usual pattern for the time largely comprising single rooms. There was a large central block of four storeys from which two, two‑storey wings projected. The airing courts were surrounded by high walls, but the ground in the middle of the courts was banked up to enable patients to obtain a view over the wall without being able to escape over it.
[Sources: Richard Poole, Memoranda Regarding the Royal Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary and Dispensary of Montrose, 1841: A. S. Presly, ‘A Sunnyside Chronicle’, booklet on the history of the hospital produced by Tayside Health Board for the bi‑centenary of the hospital in 1981.]
NORANSIDE SANATORIUM, FERN, later HMP Noranside House was purchased by Forfar County Council in 1914 and turned into a Tb sanatorium, opening as such in 1916. Ward blocks, designed by Maclaren Sons & Soutar were added in the grounds of the house, providing some 100 beds.
It closed in 1960 and passed to the Home Office, to become a Borstal or young offenders institution, which opened in 1962. It later became an open prison. This closed in 2011, and plans for a housing development on the site were in the pipeline in 2014.
ST DROSTAN’S HOUSE, Infirmary Street, Brechin The former Brechin poorhouse, and the second to be built in Brechin.
A parochial lodging house of 1853 was superseded by a new poorhouse in Infirmary Street, built in 1879-80 to designs by James Baxter in a plain Tudor style.
STRACATHRO HOSPITAL, NEAR BRECHIN Stracathro House was built in 1827 to designs by Archibald Simpson for Alexander Cruickshank. Alexander had inherited the estate from Patrick Cruickshank, who had made his fortune in Jamaica. Simpson designed a smart neo‑classical house of modest size.
It was built into a sloping site, thus the principal front is of two storeys without basement and the garden front to the rear has a raised basement. The main nine‑bay facade comprises slightly advanced outer bays capped by a stone balustrade and between these five bays set behind a screen of fluted corinthian columns in antis. This screen breaks forwards in front of the centre three bays forming a tetrastyle portico. In 1848 the estate was purchased by Sir James Campbell formerly Lord Provost of Glasgow.
At the beginning of the Second World War it was acquired as the site for one of the seven Emergency Medical Scheme hospitals built in Scotland.
Hutted ward blocks were built in the grounds to take the anticipated civilian casualties from air raids, while the house was used for staff accommodation.
After the war it became a local general hospital, and was transferred to the National Health Service in 1948.
Stracathro is the only one of the seven new EMS hospitals built in Scotland to have so far retained any of its original ward blocks. Most on the site have been largely, if not completely rebuilt, although the original footprint of much of the hospital remains. In 2011 the Susan Carnegie Centre, for patients with mental illnesses, opened on the site, designed to replace Sunnyside Hospital. Stracathro House was sold by Tayside Health Board in 2003 and was converted back into a private residence.
STRATHMARTINE HOSPITAL (see under Dundee)
SUNNYSIDE ROYAL HOSPITAL, MONTROSE The principal building on the site was built in 1855‑57 by William Lambie Moffatt. It replaced the earlier Montrose Lunatic Asylum of 1781, the first of its kind in Scotland (see separate entry).
Moffatt’s new building cost £27,513 7s 5d. It was designed in the Tudor style he often adopted, of three storeys and relates closely to his poorhouse designs.
For the first few years the old asylum in the town was retained and following the Scottish Lunacy Act of 1857 many more pauper lunatics were admitted as there was no District Asylum. There were various alterations and additions made to the main building including a new dining and recreation hall. Of the separate buildings added to the site the first of importance was the hospital block designed by Sydney Mitchell & Wilson in 1888. A competition had been held for the design and the opinions sought of H. Saxon Snell & Son, the London‑based architectural practice best known in the field of hospital design at that time. The hospital was a single storey block to the south‑west of the main building. In 1896 work was being carried out on a new house for private patients, the designs for this were prepared by William Kelly of Aberdeen, like Sydney Mitchell, he was well established in the field of hospital design. Carnegie House, as the new block was named, was built on the same philosophy as Craighouse in Edinburgh, that surroundings contributed to cure.
Carnegie Lodge was built by W. C. Orkney in 1900.
A further two villas were built, Howden villa, to the rear of the main building, was designed by a local architect John Sim, and North Esk villa, built in 1902 to the north‑east of the main building.
North Esk Villa has a bold gabled elevation with a particularly distinctive window design. The first and second floor windows are set in panels which rise to blind‑pointed arches. In 1935 a large nurses’ home was opened to the south of the site set down the hillside so as not to disrupt the view from the patients’ accommodation.
In the following year work began on a butterfly‑plan block for the elderly, built by the clerk of works, George Easton. It was completed in 1939 as Angus House. In 1971 a new occupational and industrial therapy unit was opened. The hospital officially closed in 2011, with patients being moved to the Susan Carnegie Centre built at Stracathro Hospital. Since 2009 Sunnyside has been on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland. [Sources: The Builder, 3 July 1886, p.37: Tayside Health Board, Annual Reports and some plans at the Hospital.]
WHITEHILLS HOSPITAL, FORFAR Whitehills Hospital was built as the County Fever Hospital in 1901. A competition was held in 1899 for the design which was won by McArthy and Watson of Edinburgh. Alexander Cullen of Hamilton was awarded second place and T. Martin Cappon of Dundee placed third.
The hospital was adapted for geriatric patients c.1949. In 2005 a new community hospital opened on the site, replacing the old buildings here and also the Fyfe Jamieson Maternity home and Forfar Infirmary. [Sources: The Builder, 17 June 1899, p.594.]