Argyll and Bute

Extract from John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland 1832. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

ARGYLL AND BUTE HOSPITAL, LOCHGILPHEAD   Built as the Argyll District Asylum, it opened in 1863 and was the first district asylum to be built in Scotland following the 1857 Lunacy (Scotland) Act. It was designed by David Cousin of Edinburgh and set the pattern for the subsequent asylums built during the later 1860s and early 1870s.

Extract from the 1st Edition OS Map surveyed in 1866 showing the district asylum on the right and the poorhouse, later used as a nurses’ home, to the left. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Historically this is an important hospital but its architectural appearance has been greatly marred by insensitive additions.  Its first medical superintendent was Dr J. Sibbald, who was later appointed as a Commissioner in Lunacy and was eventually knighted. In 1868 the hospital became the Argyll and Bute District Asylum, Bute having initially resisted providing for its pauper lunatics at the Argyll Asylum.

Argyll and Bute Hospital, photographed in 2010 © Copyright Steven Brown and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A large new block was added by Peddie & Kinnear  c.1883. The second edition OS Map (below) shows the extent of the extensions to the main building and additional buildings on the site by the late 1890s.

Extract from the 2nd edition OS map revised in 1898. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

In 1971 a new thirty bed unit was opened by the Duchess of Kent.  It was still functioning as a psychiatric hospital in 2013 when it celebrated its 150th birthday. At that time it was claimed that it was the only remaining asylum in Scotland still in use.[Sources: Argyll Herald, 15 Sept. 1883: British Journal of Psychology, May 2015; Volume 206, Issue 5]

ARGYLL AND BUTE HOSPITAL NURSES’ HOME, LOCHGILPHEAD   This plain building was originally built as the Mid Argyll Poorhouse in 1856, before the adjacent site was acquired for the new asylum.

Argyll and Bute Hospital, Nurses’ Home, view from the south, photographed in 2002 by RCAHMS

It was designed by a local architect, David Crow. It has more recently been converted into a nurses’ home for the Argyll and Bute Hospital. [Sources: Scottish Record Office, plans, RHP 30871/1-11;]

BRAEHOLM HOSPITAL, HELENSBURGH   Braeholm House is a typical nineteenth-century suburban villa without any great architectural pretension, although a drawing room bay was added by William Leiper in 1887.

Braeholm is the second to the right of Adelaide Street Upper, with the large bay and serpentine path leading up to the entrance. Extract from the 25-inch OS map, revised in 1937. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It was converted into a maternity hospital and an extension built to the rear. Later it was used for geriatric patients before the new unit was built at the Victoria Infirmary in Helensburgh. Braeholm closed in 1989. It is now a B&B (see

CALTON HOSPITAL, CAMPBELTOWN (demolished)   Built as the Campbeltown and Kintyre District Combination Hospital for infectious diseases on the edge of the town, desirably placed near the slaughter house, gas works, a distillery and sand pit.

Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1914. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It opened in 1903 and was designed by H. E. Clifford. This small hospital was very plain and devoid of architectural interest, although Clifford is an important architect. It originally comprised one ward block, a nurses’ home and a wooden hut. The hut was later replaced by a stone built TB ward block. In 1973 a new maternity unit was built onto the former nurses’ home. The hospital closed in 1993, the buildings have now been demolished and housing built on the site (Dalriada Court).

CAMPBELTOWN COTTAGE HOSPITAL   The Campbeltown Cottage Hospital was designed in 1894 by J. J. Burnet. Burnet provided a simple, long low building with a ground floor and attic, very domestic in scale, at first glance like a row of cottages. It was built on land just west of the poorhouse.

Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1898. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Mrs MacKinnon of Ronachan and Dr John Cunningham were the prime movers in establishing the cottage hospital. It was built and equipped for around £4,000. The plans by J. J. Burnet were approved in May, 1894, and the hospital completed during the winter of 1896.

The Hospital was formally handed over to the trustees by Mrs MacKinnon on 19 November of that year. The contractors were Messrs A. & D. Hamilton, mason work; Mr Malcolm Martin, joiner work; Messrs R. Armour & Sons, plumbers; Mr Thomas Macpherson, plaster work; Mr Peter Macpherson, slater; Messrs Russell & Hall, decorating and upholstering, and Messrs James Kerr & Son, digging and gardening.

In 1909 Roentgen Rays and High Frequency Apparatus were installed, an early date for such equipment in a cottage hospital, and in 1911 X‑ray apparatus was gifted by Mr and Mrs Harold McCorquodale of Ongar, Essex. The building of the new operating room and X‑ray room began in 1914. The new wing was designed by H. E. Clifford. The hospital closed in 1993. [Sources: Argyll & Bute District Library, Dunoon, booklet, Campbeltown & District Cottage Hospital, History and Description, Dunoon, 1933: Campbeltown Courier, 21 Nov. 1896; 19 Dec. 1896 ]

CAMPBELTOWN HOSPITAL, STEWART ROAD   Planning permission to build the present hospital was granted in December 1990. [Planning Application: 90/00066/GDD002.]

COUNTY HOSPITAL, OBAN   Originally the Argyll County Sanatorium, built around Benvoulin House on Oban Hill, a modest stone‑built house. The sanatorium was established with funds given by Mr and Mrs Bullough of Fasnacloich and opened in 1909. Ward blocks were built in the grounds of Benvoulin House for the patients and the house used as staff and office accommodation. The hospital developed into a general acute unit as the need for TB treatment declined after the Second World War. It closed in 1995.

Extract from the 6-inch OS map, revised in 1938. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

COWAL COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, DUNOON see under Dunoon General Hospital,  below

CRAIGARD MATERNITY HOME, CAMPBELTOWN   Like Struan Lodge at Dunoon, this large private house was used as an emergency maternity hospital by Kintyre District Committee, opening in 1942.

Craigard Hotel, Low Askomil, photographed in 2010 © Copyright Derek Tootill and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

It is now a hotel, and according to the hotel’s website, the house was completed in 1882, and was the home of a local Whisky Distiller, William McKersie. He and his brother, owner of a rival distillery, vied with one another to create the finest house in Campbeltown. His next commission was Auchinlee, in High Askomil, on the road to Carradale designed by H. E. Clifford. Craigard House remained in the same family until 1942  when it was purchased by the local Council to become a Maternity Home.  It was used for this purpose until 1973. Following its closure the house was divided into two flats.  Then, having fallen into disrepair,  Craigard House was purchased at Auction in 1996, in a semi-derelict condition.  It was renovated and opened as a hotel in 1997, with just four rooms, and has since expanded

DALINTART HOSPITAL, OBAN (demolished) Built as the Lorn Combination Poorhouse it opened in 1862.

Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1897-8. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland. The poorhouse straddles four corners of four separate map tiles, hence the odd missing portion. 
Extract from the OS Town Plan of Oban, 1867. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It was used as a barracks during the Boer War. The original building was starkly plain and typical of the most elementary poorhouses. It changed relatively little until after it was transferred to the National Health Service in 1948. After this, in 1968, a day hospital was opened and in 1972 a new 30‑bed unit was opened, built on the site of the former mortuary, chapel and laundry buildings. The hospital closed in 1995. (see also:

DEOCKER HOSPITAL HUT, ELLENABEICH, KILBRANDON   Erected by Lorn District Committee in 1895 but in the following year most of it was blown into the sea and lost during a gale.

25-inch OS Map, revised 1898, showing the village of Ellanbeich and to the right, Dunmore House, for a while the home of the local doctor. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Pressure to provide an isolation hospital came from the local doctor, Patrick Gillies. According to Gillies, the hut had been at Oban for some considerable time before it was moved to Ellenabeich. The site was considered to be temporary, and provide somewhere to isolate convalescent patients while their homes were disinfected. Having been erected in November 1895, the following month an outbreak of scarlet fever prompted repairs of leaks in order to receive the patients, but by the time workmen had been sent from Oban, the patients were all but recovered. Dr Gillies petitioned the District Committee for better premises, and identified the disused church at Cuan as a more suitable building. (See Kilbrandon Isolation Hospital below.)

DUNOON & DISTRICT GENERAL, SANDBANK ROAD   The hospital was built in 1963-6 incorporating as the nurses’ home the former cottage hospital, which was opened on 16 October 1908 by Princess Louise. The latter has been greatly altered and its original features have been swamped. It originally had a three‑bay, two‑storey centrepiece with single storey wings. A second storey has been added to the wings and a flat roof applied to the whole block. Although new windows have been put in, the original door has been retained to advantage, within the red sandstone doorpiece with carved over‑door.

Cowal Community Hospital. Formerly Dunoon General Hospital. Photograph taken in 2012 © Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 

There was an even earlier cottage hospital in Dunoon which opened in 1885, on the corner of Alfred Street and King Street. By the 1960s this had become Clyde Cottage and was used as a children’s home. Later it became a day nursery.

Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1898, reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

The new district general hospital was officially opened on 1 December 1966 by the Duchess of Gloucester. It had 71 beds.

DUNOON CONVALESCENT HOME (demolished) Also known as the West of Scotland Convalescent Home, or Seaside Convalescent Home, and commonly just Dunoon Homes. The home opened in 1869 and was intended to serve the poor of Glasgow. Princess Louise became its patron in 1872.

Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1898, reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

According to Groome’s Gazetteer the home was originally built as a hydropathic establishment, but the philanthropist Beatrice Clugston was instrumental in turning it into a convalescent home instead. Beatrice Clugston had earlier founded the Glasgow Convalescent Home at Bothwell (moved to Lenzie in 1871), and also founded the Broomhill Home for incurables at Kirkintilloch in 1876.

Postcard of the convalescent homes, Dunoon © H. Richardson

The Dunoon home had been built at a cost of £11,000, was fitted with ‘splendid baths’, and could accommodate 150 patients. A wing was added in 1880. (Sources: Francis Groome, Gazetteer of Scotland: Manchester Evening News, 6 Aug 1872, p.3: Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women, 2006)

Finnartmore Auxiliary Hospital, Kilmun (closed in 1984, demolished)

GARTNATRA INFECTIOUS DISEASES HOSPITAL, BOWMORE, ISLAY   Opened in 1904, this small isolation hospital was built by James MacFayden for the Islay District Committee. As it appears on the 1897 OS map, perhaps the 1904 building replaced a temporary structure.

Extract from the popular edition 1-inch OS map, published in 1926, reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It had closed by 1958. It was described as a well-built small infectious diseases hospital with no serious trace of damp except in two W.C.s at the back on either side which were below a flat part of the roof where the rain water had forced a way in during stormy weather.

‘The site of Gartnatra is bleak and exposed to the prevailing westerly wind coming off the bay; there is nothing “cosy” about the building, but Matron remarked that the islanders are used to hearing the wind roar about their houses. Our visit was on a day of cold rain. A shelter belt of trees would obviously be desirable, but we were told that owing to the wind and the salt spray from the sea, there would be little chance of trees growing.’

Old photograph of the hospital, reproduced from the Columba Centre, Islay

When the question of modernising the hospital facilities on Islay was under discussion in the early 1950s, plans were prepared by one of the architects for the Western Regional Health Board to extend the hospital from a 14 to a 27-bed hospitals to provide accommodation for 17 chronic sick patients, 4 acute cases, 2 maternity and 4 infectious cases. Staff quarter were also to be provided, for five nurses and three domestics, and two day-rooms plus dining-room.

A small team from the mainland visited Islay in May 1952 that included Mr Guthrie, the Regional Hospital Board Architect, Dr Guy, the Medical Officer of Health, and representative of Argyllshire County Council, amongst other interested parties from the different tiers of management. The Secretary of the Board of Management for Campbeltown & District Hospitals, in charge of Gartnatra and Gortanvogie House, regarded an extension to Gartnatra as the ‘proper solution to the hospital problem on Islay’. The local doctors were less convinced, arguing for a new hospital on a more convenient and sheltered site. This  was eventually achieved with the new hospital on the Gortanvogie site, the present Islay Hospital.

The Columba Centre, showing the south range that was the old fever hospital. Photographed in May 2019, © H. Richardson

In 2002 the Gartnatra building re-opened as the Columba Centre, a community and Gaelic centre. It has been extended to the north, and the interior completely stripped out and re-fitted. [Sources: National Records of Scotland, HH101/1491]

GLENORCHY ISOLATION HOSPITAL, DALMALLY   Provided by the Lorn District Committee, the Glenorchy Isolation Hospital was one of the many small infectious diseases hospitals constructed by Speirs & Co. of Glasgow. It opened in 1898, and had closed by 1924. It appears to have survived and is now a private house.

OS, 6-inch map, surveyed 1897. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

HELENSBURGH INFECTIOUS DISEASES HOSPITAL (Demolished)   The Helensburgh Infectious Diseases Hospital opened c.1875, and was still in existence in 1948 when it was described as a two‑storey building dating from 1875 with a small ‘Speiresque’ pavilion.

Extract from the 25-inch OS map revised in 1937. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

The site was right next to the railway line, and not far from the Victoria Infirmary (see below). Its location next to the cemetery is not unusual for an infectious diseases hospital.

INVERARY ISOLATION HOSPITAL   Opened in 1893 it was built by Speirs & Co. of Glasgow. It was closed by 1933.

ISLAY COMBINATION POORHOUSE, BOWMORE (Demolished)   The Islay Poorhouse opened in 1865 and was designed by J. C. Walker of Edinburgh. Later it was renamed Gortanvogie House and was finally demolished to make way for the new Bowmore Hospital during the 1960s.

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Extract from the 1st-edition OS map, surveyed in 1878, reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

In 1952 when the future of hospital provision on Islay was under discussion, the main problem with Gortanvogie House was that it was a ‘mixed’ institution, having wards occupied by both chronic sick patients and what were then termed ‘Part III’ people – that is those who were not sick, and were sufficiently fit to take care of themselves with a little help. The local member of the Campbeltown Board of Managements, responsible for Gortanvogie and Gartnatra Hospital on Islay, thought that although Gortanvogie left much to be desired, the conditions were probably better than most of the patients enjoyed at home. Given the list of improvements that the Matron had requested, this makes for a depressing view of their living conditions. Matron had asked, without success for: electric light – the Hydro Eelctric Board’s supply was at the front door, but the building was not wired; hot water on the ground floor; a bathroom directly off each main ward on the ground floor; a linen cupboard; wooden or other suitable flooring instead of stone floors; a brick side screen with steel windows along the outside of a covered way between the front and back of the building to stop the inmates from passing through the staff dining-room; plus essential repairs to the structure of walls and ceilings, and re-slating a large part of the roof. Neglect of building maintenance during the war had left many of the inner walls damp and rotten, with plaster having fallen from many of the ceilings. [Sources: National Records of Scotland, HH101/1491]

ISLAY HOSPITAL, BOWMORE  In 1948 the newly formed National Health Service took over the two existing facilities on Islay for the sick: Gartnatra Hospital, down on the shore, a small purpose-built hospital for infectious diseases comprising two wards with a total of 14 beds, and Gortanvogie House, the former poor law institution, which took care for the elderly and medical cases. Neither was ideal, but with funding for new hospitals limited in the early years of the NHS, early proposals for a new hospital were quashed.

General view of Islay Hospital. Photographed in May 2019. © H. Richardson

By July 1960, as central funding for capital programmes was beginning to improve a proposal to build a new hospital and residential accommodation for the elderly on the site of the poorhouse were finally approved. Plans were drawn up by the Western Regional Hospital Board (WRHB).  Combining a hospital with a home for the elderly went against government health policy, and created a degree of complexity regarding the funding. Local authorities were responsible for the welfare of the elderly, raising the difficulty of sharing the costs in some way. Mixed institutions were thought to have a place in the more remote parts of the Scottish Islands and Highlands.

Entrance front of the Eventide Home at Islay Hospital. Photographed in May 2019. © H. Richardson

The WRHB’s plans were for a hospital and residential accommodation adjacent to each other, linked by an enclosed corridor, with some services, such as the kitchen, shared. Work began late in 1963. The plans entailed a 21-bed hospital and a 20-bed Eventide Home. The hospital was built first, then Gortanvogie House demolished and the home built on its site. In 1966 work on the hospital was completed. It had cost about £180,000, and provided 12 chronic sick beds, 6 beds for general medicine and 3 maternity beds [Sources: National Records of Scotland, HH101/1491]

KILBRANDON ISOLATION HOSPITAL, CUAN FERRY   Lorn District Committee’s second attempt to provide an infectious diseases hospital was located in a converted church at Cuan Ferry. It opened in 1901 but had closed by 1932.

Former isolation hospital at Cuan, now a private house. Photographed June 2022 © H. Blakeman

As with the ill-fated temporary hospital at Ellenabeich (see above), the establishment of this hospital was due to the exertions of the local doctor, Patrick Gillies. Local historian, Mary Withall, has related the history of both hospitals in her biography of Gillies (The Easdale Doctor The Life and Times of Patrick H. Gillies, Edinburgh 2018). Gillies’ annual reports to the Medical Officer of Health for the Lorn District, and his descriptions of the hospital are quoted there. His report for 1895 noted that a much better site had been secured, that was ‘more central in a quiet and secluded spot away from traffic and the curiosity of the public, yet accessible’. Gillies went on:

‘If the District Cttee behave as liberally to this parish as they have done in the case of Dalmally I am sure it would not be difficult to gather subscriptions of over one hundred pounds in the district, and with the total sum a permanent building of stone and lime could be erected, suitable for the wants of the locality better fitted to stand the storms of our coast, and more comfortable and inviting.’

OS Map, 6 inch, revised 1898. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

The church at Cuan had been erected in 1732, but was replaced after funds were donated by Lord Breadalbane in 1862 for a new church further north, more centrally placed for the islanders. The new church was built in 1864-6, rendering the old church redundant. Dr Gillies thought the abandoned church ideal for conversion, being large enough to be subdivided into two wards, male and female, with accommodation for laundry, kitchen, and a nurse. It was also closer to his own home, Ballachuan House. Gillies had moved there from Dunmore House after his marriage. Mary Withall suggests that the house had been reserved by Lord Breadalbane for the use of the various doctors appointed to the quarry villages during the nineteenth century.

Rear view of the former isolation hospital. Photographed June 2022, © H. Blakeman

Gillies described the new hospital as ‘a handsome and substantial building giving ample accommodation both for patients and staff and providing every means of isolation and disinfection … The two wards have each a capacity of over 4,000 cubic feet thus giving ample space for a least six beds.’ Gillies also noted that: ‘Sewage is easily disposed of in the sea, close by.’

KILMUN HOMES INSTITUTION  Built in 1873 as a sea-side Convalescent Home to the north of Kilmun. to designs by Hugh Barclay working with his younger brother David Barclay.

Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1898, reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It was described as a ‘very plain structure built of whinstone rubble faced with freestone and brick, and consists of two wings and a centre, with an entire frontage of about 176 feet. The building will be two storeys in height, and in each of the wigs there will be sixteen bedrooms. In the centre portion, which is separated from the wings, will form the matron’s room and kitchen, and on the upper story a dining-hall and reading room. The cost is estimated at £2,500.”. The Building News  [Building News 13 June 1873, p688] It was extended in 1939 by  Ninian McWhannel. [ Architect & Building News, 1939.] Now called Kilmun Court, this white-painted, with half-timbered gables, presents quite a charming ensemble.  They have been converted into flats.

LARCHILL HOSPITAL, DUNOON (Closed 1891) Larchill Hospital opened in 1858 to accommodate fever patients and the casual sick poor.

LORN & ISLANDS HOSPITAL, Glengallan Road, Oban. Built in 1995 to replace the earlier hospitals in Oban.

The Lorn & Islands Hospital, photographed in August 2019 © H. Richardson

MACKELVIE HOSPITAL, OBAN  (demolished)  The Mackelvie Hospital was opened on 18 October 1897 as an infectious diseases hospital. It was provided by Oban Town Council with money donated by Dr R. B. Mackelvie of Oban and comprised two simple linked blocks looking much like schoolrooms. In 1927 the Macpherson block was added and in 1956 part of the original hospital was converted into a nurses’ home.

Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, surveyed in 1898. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

MID ARGYLL HOSPITAL, LOCHGILPHEAD   This small hospital was originally provided by the Mid‑Argyll District Committee for infectious diseases.

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Extract from the 2nd edition OS map revised in 1898. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The corrugated iron and timber blocks erected in 1897 by Speirs & Co. were re‑clad c.1950 to create a more permanent hospital. In 1962 a maternity unit was added and in 1978 the Duncan Geriatric Unit as opened.

OBAN MATERNITY HOSPITAL, Dalriach Road   Gleneuchar House, a substantial Victorian turreted and crow‑stepped villa, was purchased by the Western Regional Hospitals Board in 1954 and converted into a maternity hospital which opened in the following year.

Former Oban Maternity Hospital, photographed by RCAHMS in 1995
Gleneuchar House is the one on the west side of Dalriach Road, just up from the junction with Craigard Road. The house is now called Greystones, and is a boutique B&B. Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1898. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

RAILWAY CONVALESCENT HOME, ROTHESAY, BUTE   Supposedly the only railway convalescent home in Scotland, it provided 34 beds for railway employees. It was maintained from voluntary subscriptions from the railway workers and was administered by them.

SALEN ISOLATION HOSPITAL, MULL   The hospital opened in 1893. It was built by Speirs & Co. of Glasgow. In 1900 an outbreak of smallpox prompted the Medical Officer of Health to visit the isolation hut only to find it occupied by an old man, a roadman and his wife, ‘who use one ward as a bedroom and the nurse’s room for storage of articles of food and crockery etc’. Some furniture was stored in the other ward and the closet at one end contained ‘a hen and her brood of chickens’. Owing to the want of any road to the hospital or ambulance carriage it was not felt possible to transfer the patient with smallpox from Aros Lodge to the hospital. To solve this problem ‘the Medical Officer of Health, Chief Sanitary Inspector and eight carpenters with necessary apparatus’ were sent over the Mull ‘so as to have the hut taken down and removed to Aros and re‑erected there with least possible delay’. However, this ingenious plan was stopped when a member of the Town Council decided that ‘the hospital was erected for the purpose of accommodating patients brought to it not for the purpose of being brought to the patient’.

The hospital suffered the same fate as the Deocker hospital hut being destroyed in a gale in 1927. A new isolation hospital was provided in a cottage at Torranlochan, nearby which opened in 1928. [Sources: Argyll District Archives, Lochgilphead, Town Council Minutes.]

STRUAN LODGE, DUNOON   Struan Lodge was opened as an emergency maternity hospital in 1940 by the Cowal District Committee. It is just north of the general hospital. It continued in use as a maternity hospital under the NHS into the 1960s, but by the mid-1970s it had become a residential care home and a large single-storey wing added to the east.

Part of Struan Lodge, on Bencorrum Brae, now a care home, photographed in 2012 © Copyright Thomas Nugent and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Struan Lodge is to the right. Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map surveyed in 1897. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

TARBERT ISOLATION HOSPITAL, TARBERT   The isolation hospital at Tarbert opened in 1855. It was still functioning in 1892.

TIREE INFECTIOUS DISEASES HOSPITAL   This small infectious diseases hospital was built by Speirs & Co. of Glasgow. It opened in 1905 and was closed in 1947.

TOBERMORY BURGH ISOLATION HOSPITAL, MULL   The isolation hospital at Tobermory opened in 1893. It was closed in 1938.

TOBERMORY COTTAGE HOSPITAL, MULL   The cottage hospital at Tobermory opened c.1892.

TOBERMORY UNION POORHOUSE, MULL   The poorhouse on Mull was designed in 1862 by David Cousin of Edinburgh. It was derelict in 1990. [SourcesScottish Record Office, plans, RHP 30877/1‑5.]

VICTORIA HOSPITAL, ROTHESAY, BUTE   The cottage hospital at Rothesay opened in 1897 and was designed by John R. Thomson. He produced a long low multi‑gabled facade of no great distinction. The hospital originated in the 1880s with a fund for nursing non‑infectious diseases in the Robertson Stewart Hospital (now Victoria Hospital Annexe, see below).

Victoria Hospital, Rothesay, photographed in 2009 © Copyright Jim Smillie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A new wing was added in 1927 and a maternity department added in 1938. During the 1950s the 3rd Statistical Account commented on the shortage of beds which, despite the existence of a small operating theatre, meant that most major surgical operations were carried out on the mainland.

‘This removal of cases entails much movement for the patient, the conveying by ambulance to the steamer, the publicity and embarrassment of lying in the public saloon, the transference again to an ambulance, and then transport to a hospital in Greenock.’

VICTORIA HOSPITAL ANNEXE, ROTHESAY, BUTE   The present {1990} annexe to the Victoria Hospital at Rothesay was originally built as the Robertson Stewart Hospital for infectious diseases by Mathew Hunter. It opened in 1873 and was provided by Rothesay Town Council with money from Mr Stewart of Ascog Hall and his sons. It was given various additions including an ex‑army hut for a smallpox hospital in 1920.

VICTORIA INFECTIOUS DISEASES HOSPITAL, DUNOON (Demolished)   The Victoria Infectious Diseases Hospital was originally opened as the Dunoon and Cowal District Combination Hospital on 2 February 1898.

Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1898, reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It was designed by Robert Bryden of Glasgow and consisted of three ward pavilions, an administration block and service blocks.

VICTORIA INFIRMARY, 93 East King Street, HELENSBURGH   The cottage hospital at Helensburgh was designed by William Leiper and opened on 27 September 1895.

Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1897. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It has a central, two‑storey block for administration with a high pitched roof and canted bays capped by bell‑shaped roofs. The Victoria Integrated Care Centre was built to the south. [Sources: The Builder, 5 Oct. 1895, p.244.]

WEST HIGHLAND COTTAGE HOSPITAL, OBAN (demolished)   The cottage hospital at Oban was founded by Mrs Agnes Parr of Killiechronan, Mull, in 1896. It was designed by G. Woulfe Brenan and could easily have been confused for a local villa.

Postcard of the West Highland Cottage Hospital, showing an event – perhaps the opening of the hospital, although the card was posted in 1926. © H. Richardson

Extensions were carried out in 1911 and 1934‑6, the latter by Lake Falconer. The hospital closed in 1995.[Sources: H. C. Burdett (ed.), Hospitals and Charities Year Book, 1925: Campbeltown Courier and Argyll Herald, 26 Sept. 1896.]

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Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1897-8. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

WITCHBURN HOUSE, CAMPBELTOWN   Witchburn House was built as a poorhouse by John Honeyman of Glasgow.

Whitchburn House, photographed in the late 1980s. Even by my standards this is a pretty terrible photograph.

It opened in 1861. It is a very plain long building with three gabled blocks linked by low ranges. In 1866 a fever hospital was built in its grounds.

Extract from the 1st edition OS map, surveyed in 1866. The detached block on the north side of the poorhouse may have been the fever hospital. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

In 1941 part of the building was incorporated as an Emergency Hospital by the Department of Health. It was latterly developed as a hospital for long‑stay and geriatric patients. It closed in 1993 and was used as local council offices. [see also]

15 thoughts on “Argyll and Bute

  1. Front elevation photo of Struan Lodge Maternity hospital Dunoon 1950s anyone? Thank you.
    Christine Ferguson

  2. I would love a photo of stream lodge in dunoon I was born there 2nd February 1941My father was in the Royal Navy. My home then was glen elg glen morag crescent. I have birth announcement cards announcing my birth at strung lodge.Wish I could contact someone who knew my family Maiden name was MACLURE

  3. Thank you Anne, I have found a picture of a part of Struan Lodge, which I have added to the page. You can see the building as it is now on google street view. It may be worth contacting Argyll & Bute Archives to see if they have a photograph. If I do come across anything I will let you know.

  4. Pingback: Argyll Colliery – Grand Dance and Challenge Match | The Road to Drumleman

  5. It was very interesting to see the Argyll & Bute Disrict Asylum. My grandfather’s aunt (Agnes Murray nee Taylor) died there in 1929. Her husband Daniel Sinclair Murray was found dead in Rothesay in 1904. I am attempting to trace children my grandfather’s cousins. Thanks.

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  9. Very interesting indeed. I wonder if there is anything on the TB hospitals on Barra or the surrounding islands? Many thanks.

  10. Can anyone tell me where the maternity unit/hospital was in 1960’s/70’s in lochgilphead/mid argyll?

  11. I was born in Rhu/Helensburgh in 1965 and I was sure it was across from the Rhu mariner just at the sharp bend in the road. I was trying to find photo’s and information on it but I all I could find was reference to the exmaternity hospital at Braeholm and the Helensburgh infirmary. Does anyone have any further information on this, it’s possible the maternity hospital may have had an annexe at Rhu.

  12. my mum was sent to a Children’s Convalescent Home in rothsay in 1960, she said it was atop of a hill, does anyone know of this?

    • Yes, there were 3 children’s homes at one point, and an orphanage earlier in years too. It sounds like The Agnes Patrick Home which is out the Ascog shore from Rothesay. Also there was Southpark Home too out that way, but it was not on a hill that I recall. I think the home is now converted into a boutique hotel. Very posh. I don’t live there so can’t check it out for you. Hope this is some help to you. Contact Rothesay Museum on their Facebook page/website for their email address. cheers…marion.

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