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

ARMISTEAD CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTRE, MONIFIETH ROAD, BROUGHTY FERRY  Armistead House was first adapted as a convalescent home in the 1930s for children aged between two and five years with provision for 42 beds, a school-room and playrooms. Later it was converted into a child development centre.

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Extract from the 25-inch OS map revised in 1938. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

The house has been attributed to the Dundee architect James Maclaren and dates to around 1860. It was originally called Panmuir Villa. The house and lodge have been on the Buildings at Risk register for Scotland since 2010. Around that time the site was sold to developers. Plans are being prepared by H&H Properties for residential redevelopment of the house and grounds.

ASHLUDIE HOSPITAL, MONIFIETH   Ashludie House was designed in a Jacobean style by James Maclaren of Dundee in 1865. There are some fine interiors surviving and some of the garden features, including a walled garden. The house and estate were purchased by Dundee Town Council in 1913 and converted into a Sanatorium.

canmore_image_SC00682583-2Ashludie Hospital photographed by RCAHMS in 1989 

Ward blocks were constructed in the grounds and the house used for administration and some staff accommodation, the work was carried out to the designs of James Thomson. It opened in 1916.

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Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1920. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Further extensions were made in the 1920s-30s: the house was extended on the north side and a detached block was added to the south.

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Extract from the 25-inch OS map revised in 1938. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Ashludie Hospital was transferred to the National Health Service in 1948 and converted for geriatric patients. A new unit was added in the early 1970s. The hospital closed in 2013, and one of the original ward blocks (nearest the house) was demolished in 2014. NHS Tayside planned to demolish the remaining ward blocks to allow the site to be redeveloped for housing. [Sources:Dundee City Archives, plans of Ashludie House: Further reading: a history of Ashludie was written in 2012 on the Monifieth Local History blogThe Courier, 1 August 2014, accessed online 31/2/16.]

DUNDEE DENTAL HOSPITAL, PARK PLACE   The houses in Park Place dating from the early decades of the nineteenth century became the location of Dundee’s Dental Hospital in 1914 when the upper flats of Nos 4 and 6 were rented and opened on 23 February by Sir George Baxter. In 1910 Dr Graham Campbell had suggested establishing a dental dispensary and by 1913 the scheme for a hospital had been proposed. In 1916 the Dental School was established and on 16 May 1918, No. 2 Park Place was purchased.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 16.16.10Park Place, the Dental Hospital and School occupies the area on the west side, south of Small’s Lane. The detached house with open ground to either side and steps leading up to a central front door was the southernmost house acquired for the hospital.  Extract from the 1st Edition OS map surveyed in 1860. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

In 1949-52 the pair of villas housing the dental hospital and school were joined together by an infill block creating a new main entrance, in sympathetic style with a tall arched window lighting the first floor and DENTAL HOSPITAL carved on the frieze above. The architects were Findlay, Stewart & Robbie, who also designed a new block at the north end of the site – a three-storey block of domestic scale with a pleasing vaguely Art Deco doorway.

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By the end of the nineteenth century further villas had been built on Park Place, including on the site immediately north of the villa shown on the map above. It was this pair that were acquired for the Dental Hospital. Extract from the 2nd edition OS map, revised in 1900-1. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Between these converted domestic buildings and the new north range a gaunt tower block was added in the 1960s (1963-7, Robbie & Wellwood architects). An unsatisfactory attempt was made to link the terrace to the new building. (Sources: John Gifford, Dundee and Angus, The Buildings of Scotland, 2012. See also dentistry.dundee.ac.uk)

DUNDEE EAST POORHOUSE (See below under Maryfield Hospital)

DUNDEE EYE INSTITUTION   The Eye Institution in Dundee was established in 1836. [Sources :Medical Directory, 1904.]

DUNDEE LIMB FITTING CENTRE, BROUGHTY FERRY   An undistinguished domestic house in Broughty Ferry, built in the mid‑nineteenth century, was acquired and converted into the Dundee Infant Hospital. This catered for children up to five years of age from Dundee and took medical cases only.

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Extract from the 25-inch OS map revised in 1938. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It was transferred to the National Health Service in 1948 and  c.1963 was converted to a limb-fitting centre. It closed and the original house has been converted for residential use, with a new ‘matching’ house built to the west: the development is called Bader Square.

DUNDEE ROYAL INFIRMARY, BARRACK ROAD   The core of the infirmary was opened in 1855 and designed by Coe & Goodwin of London. This building replaced the earlier infirmary built in the 1790s (see separate entry). By 1849 a committee had been appointed to select a site for the new infirmary and a competition was held for the plans. The eminent medical Professors Syme and Christison of Edinburgh were consulted in the selection of the winning design and in 1852 Coe and Goodwin were awarded the premium of £50. David Robertson, a local builder was appointed to erect the building and work was commenced.

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Extract from the 1st Edition OS Map surveyed in 1872. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

The Infirmary was completed towards the end of 1854 and was officially opened on 7 February 1855. Coe and Goodwin’s design was for a hospital of three storeys on a U‑plan. It was of the corridor type which was generally current before the introduction of the pavilion‑plan hospital. Indeed it was built in the declining years of the corridor plan, lending irony to Professor Syme’s description of it as ‘a model after which institutions similar in kind might well be constructed’.

Postcard showing the principal south elevation of the Royal Infirmary

It is a bold essay in the Tudor style applied to a large public building. The window design was of particular importance in the overall effect.

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This more detailed plan is from the OS Town Plans, also of 1871. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.


The main front of the hospital photographed around 1875 from Dundee Valentine Album, RCAHMS

Many extensions were built and sister institutions provided. Of these, the principal additions on the site comprised the Gilroy Home, built in 1892 for nurses’ accommodation, the Sharp Operating Theatre which opened in 1895, the Dalgliesh Nurses’ Home built in 1893, provided by Sir William Ogilvy Dalgliesh and extended in 1912, and the Caird Pavilion built in 1902‑1907 for surgical disorders and medical diseases of children and provided by Sir James Caird. In 1925 his sister added an operating theatre, X‑ray and electrical department. In 1930 the maternity hospital opened, erected and equipped by R. B. Sharp and his brother F. B. Sharp of Hill of Tarvit, Fife.


Aerial photograph of the site in 2010 from RCAHMS

Plan of Dundee, 1906, by William Mackison, Burgh Engineer. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Detail of the 2nd-edition, 25-inch OS map, revised in 1937-8. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Dundee Royal Infirmary closed in 1998, commemorative plaques and other items from the infirmary were transferred to Ninewells Hospital which replaced the infirmary as Dundee’s general and teaching hospital. Since then the original building and the main later additions have been converted into housing, renamed Regents Gardens, completed in 2008 by H & H Properties. The original planning brief for the site was approved before the infirmary had even closed, in 1996. The masterplan was approved in 2000, amended the following year. The architects for the conversion were the local firm of Kerr Duncan MacAllister.

[Sources: The Builder, 23 Aug. 1851, p.529. For more on the buildings see the blog post. Records of the hospital can be found at the University of Dundee]

DUNDEE ROYAL INFIRMARY (FORMER), KING STREET  (demolished)  The first Dundee Royal Infirmary was built from 1793 to 1798 to designs by John Paterson of Edinburgh. It had evolved from the Public Dispensary for Dundee established in 1782, primarily through the efforts of the Reverend Dr Small and Mr Robert Stewart, surgeon. In 1791 Dr Small proposed setting up an infirmary. Money was raised by public subscription and in 1793 the foundation stone was laid and the Infirmary was opened in 1798, situated to the north of King Street.

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Extract from the OS Town Plan 1871 showing the old infirmary in use as a model lodging House for females. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The building was extended in 1825 by the addition of two wings. Further alterations and improvements were carried out in the ensuing years but the site had become crowded and a new building on a new site was required. When the new Infirmary was completed the old building was sold and became a school until eventually it was demolished. (It appears on the OS maps for 1857 and 1870 as a Model Lodging House for females.)

DUNDEE ROYAL INFIRMARY CONVALESCENT HOME, STRATHMORE STREET, BARNHILL (demolished) The home opened in 1877 and was designed by James Maclaren of Dundee. The first convalescent home for the Infirmary was opened in November 1860 for females recovering from illness or accidents and was in a house in Union Place. In June 1870 larger premises were acquired in William Street, Forebank, until the new, purpose‑built home opened for males and females in 1877.

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Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1900. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

It was funded by Sir David Baxter of the Jute-manufacturing family. In appearance the building was very similar to Baldovan.

DUNDEE ROYAL LUNATIC ASYLUM, ALBERT STREET (demolished) The Dundee Royal Asylum was founded in 1805 and built to designs by William Stark in 1812. Stark departed from the radial plan of his Glasgow Asylum to produce an H‑plan hospital.

canmore_image_SC00755785Plan of the centre block of Dundee Royal Asylum by William Stark, from RCAHMS

The foundation stone was inscribed ‘to restore the use of reason, to alleviate suffering and lessen peril where reason cannot be restored’. William Stark later outlined the key points of the plan:

It admits of a very minute classification of patients according to their different ranks, characters and degrees of disease: it secures to every room the freest ventilation, and provides for the diffusion of heat through the building. Under one general management it separates the different classes of inhabitants from one another as completely as if they lived at the greatest distance, and it enables the system to be executed which every asylum ought especially to keep in view, that of great gentleness and great liberty and comfort combined with the fullest security.

A Royal Charter was granted to the asylum in 1819. William Burn took over from Stark as architect to the asylum and produced plans to enlarge the building in 1824.

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Extract from the OS Town Plan of 1871. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Although when it was first built the asylum was outside the town, by the mid-1840s development was encroaching. There were severe problems of overcrowding, but expansion on the site was unfeasible. The managers delayed the inevitable removal to a new site for as long as they could, despite pressure from the Commissioners in Lunacy after 1857.


Reconstruction drawing by D. M. Walker, 1952, from RCAHMS

In 1875 the decision to erect a new asylum was finally taken. (An aerated water works in Cardean Street was built on this site after the Second World War)

DUNDEE WEST POORHOUSE (LIFF AND BENVIE POORHOUSE), Blackness Road (demolished) The Dundee West Poorhouse was designed in 1862 by David Mackenzie of Dundee and his plans closely resembled those for the Kirkcaldy and Dysart Poorhouse. It provided accommodation for men on the west side, and women on the east, with lunatic wards in the end wings.

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Extract from the 1871 OS Town Plan of Dundee. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

The Croquet ground is a surprising amenity. [Sources :Scottish Record Office, plans RHP 30845/1‑33, RHP 30846/1‑11.Dundee City Archives, Liff & Benvie Parochial Board Minutes.]

DUNDEE WOMEN’S HOSPITAL, Elliot Road   The Dundee Women’s Hospital was opened in its new purpose‑built hospital on 24 February 1915, it was designed by James Findlay. In c.1891 a Dispensary for Women had been established in Dundee and in October 1895 a committee was formed to consider establishing a small cottage hospital. In the following year the hospital was opened in Seafield Road and the Dispensary closed. By 1911 it had been decided to build a new hospital and James Findlay’s building was completed in 1914. However, a fire broke out which delayed the final opening of the hospital for nearly another year. Closed, converted into private housing. [Sources: Dundee University Archives, plans ]

GERARD COTTAGE HOSPITAL, MONIFIETH   The hospital was opened in October 1902 and was designed by James Findlay. It was provided by the Trustees of the late Dr James Gerard Young, minister of St Rules Church. The hospital was initially transferred to the National Health Service but later proved to be too small to be economical. However, it remains {in 1990} in operation as an independent hospital. [Sources:J. Malcolm, The Parish of Monifieth, Edinburgh, 1910. Dundee University Archives, Minutes.]

KINGS CROSS HOSPITAL, Clepington Road   Kings Cross Hospital opened in 1890 as the Dundee Infectious Diseases Hospital and was designed by the Burgh Engineer, W. M. Mackison, in 1887.

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Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1900. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

A temporary hospital for smallpox was first built in 1867 by Dundee Town Council, it was later extended to provide accommodation for typhus fever. In 1877 a further temporary hospital was built to the south of Clepington Road. These buildings were all demolished when the present hospital was built on the site in 1887‑9. It originally comprised just the central administration building and two ward blocks. The administration block is a sturdy composition with outer gabled bays and a central Frenchified tower. The cast‑iron gates and railings to Clepington Road are of a particularly high quality. It is interesting to note that when the 1887 plans were submitted the Dundee Police Board and Committee had also been considering the possibility of a floating hospital, but this idea was abandoned.

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Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1921. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

[Sources:Dundee City Archives, minutes of the Dundee Police Commissioners.]


MARYFIELD HOSPITAL Mostly demolished by 1990. Built as the Dundee East Poorhouse it was designed by William Lambie Moffatt in 1854.

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Extract from the 1871 OS Town Plan of Dundee. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland.

It was considerably larger than Dundee West Poorhouse, but followed a similar layout with men on one side and women on the other, and a central dining hall that also served as a chapel. Instead of a croquet lawn there is a bowling green shown on the east of the site. The poorhouse was situated on the very edge of Dundee, just north of the Royal Lunatic Asylum.

A large hospital block was added by William Alexander from 1891. The poorhouse developed into a general hospital which was finally rendered redundant after Ninewells opened.[Sources: Scottish Record Office, plans, RHP 30847/1‑48, RHP 30848/1‑64.]

NINEWELLS HOSPITAL   Commenced 1964 to designs by Robert Mathew Johnson-Marshall. Construction took more than a decade, and spiralling costs were a serious problem.


Aerial photograph taken by RCAHMS in 2010

Ninewells is one of a growing number of hospitals with a Maggie’s centre, the first of which was built at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh in 1996.


View from a similar point in 1989, also photographed by RCAHMS


ROYAL DUNDEE LIFF HOSPITAL   The principal building at the present {1990} hospital was built in 1877‑ 82, an imposing, symmetrical Baronial block by Edward and Robertson.


“Westgreen Asylum, Liff, 1897” by Directors of Westgreen Asylum – Annual Report of Directors of Westgreen Asylum, 1897. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

It was built to replace the former Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum building in the town (see separate entry), and was popularly known as the Westgreen Asylum, after its location. The year after the first section of this building was opened the managers of the asylum encountered serious financial difficulties. The Westgreen buildings had been designed as a pauper asylum and a separate section for private patients was planned but had to be postponed. Westgreen therefore had to be adapted to accommodate all classes of patients. Half of the accommodation for paupers had to be given over to private patients and the recreation hall was partitioned off to provide extra dormitory space. When it opened the visiting Commissioners in Lunacy found the wards bare, cold and comfortless, with scanty furnishings.


Aerial photograph taken by RCAHMS in 2001

Eventually, in 1898, T. S. Robertson of Dundee produced plans for the delayed private patients block which was built in 1901, now Gowrie House. This is a much richer building with some good plaster work and wood panelling inside.


ROYAL VICTORIA HOSPITAL At the heart of the hospital is {in 1990} Balgay House of c.1760, which was purchased by Dundee Town Council to provide a hospital for incurables. The classically detailed house has a slightly projecting pedimented centrepiece and similarly projecting end bays which rise up to ogival roofs.

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Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1900. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

The house was converted into hospital accommodation by J. Murray Robertson of Dundee. It was established to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and was officially opened by the Duke of Connaught on 28 August 1899. [Sources: Dundee City Archives, Minutes, 1916‑29. Tayside Health Board, Minutes 1900‑16.]

SIDLAW SANATORIUM, AUCHTERHOUSE   The Sidlaw Sanatorium, also known as the Auchterhouse Sanatorium, opened in 1901 and was designed by W. Alexander


Photographed in 1953 by Aero Pictorial, from the collection of RCAHMS

It is a particularly good example of this type of hospital and an early example of a purpose‑built sanatorium in Scotland.

a hospital451

Closed by 1984, converted to private housing. There is a good history with some more images on the Auchterhouse Community website [Sources: Dundee University Archives, Minutes.]

SMALLPOX HOSPITAL, KINGSCROSS    A temporary hospital for smallpox was first built in 1867 by Dundee Town Council, it was later extended to provide accommodation for typhus fever.

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Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1900. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

STRATHMARTINE HOSPITAL The principal buildings were designed by James Maclaren & Son to replace the earlier hospital. The foundation stone was laid on 13 June 1900.

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The unlabelled buildings on the right-hand side of the map are the 1900 buildings by James Maclaren. Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1900. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Formerly called the Baldovan Institution it was founded by Sir John and Lady Jane Ogilvie in 1852 and constituted the first serious attempt to do something for imbecile children in Scotland. It was the second such institution to be founded in Britain and the first in Scotland. Sr John and Lady Jane had a mentally handicapped child whom they had admitted to the Abendberg in Switzerland, a colony for the care of defectives founded by Dr Guggenbuhl. The patients were given various stimuli, frequent baths and massage and encouraged to taken exercise in the open air. It was the Abendberg which was the inspiration for Baldovan, and his approval of the plans was sought and given before work began.

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Baldovan Orphanage and Asylum, from the Illustrated London News, 30 July 1853, p.68

In 1853 the foundation stone was laid for an institution that was part hospital, part orphanage and part school where ‘imbecile’ children could be educated and trained. It was designed by Coe and Goodwin and resembled an English Tudor style domestic house, built of rubble stone with Caen stone dressings, the roof covered in red and black tiles. A brass plaque over the foundation stone recorded the names of those involved, the Ogilvies, the architects and the builders (‘Charles and Alexander Cunningham, of this parish’).

Inside, the front part of the building housed the matron’s apartment, a large gymnasium and separate classrooms for girls and boys. Behind were the kitchen and dining-rooms and lavatories. the upper floor had four ‘large and lofty’ dormitories and six smaller bedrooms for boarders ‘with baths and every possible convenience’. There were also bedrooms for the matron and domestic staff.

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Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1921. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Sir John Ogilvy died in 1890, and the institution that he co-founded with his wife had the dubious honour of being mentioned in a poem by William McGonagall, mourning Sir John’s demise: ‘He was a public benefactor in many ways,/Especially in erecting an asylum for imbecile children to spend their days;/Then he handed over the institution over as free -/As a free gift and a boon to the people of Dundee.’

The success of the hospital led to a new building on a site to the north at the turn of the century designed by James Maclaren. Following the Mental Deficiency (Scotland) Act of 1913 further expansion occurred with the construction of a recreation hall, and more accommodation for children and staff.

canmore_image_SC00799930-2Aerial photograph of the site taken in 2002 by RCAHMS Aerial Photography

The hospital was transferred to the National Health Service in 1948 and continued to expand. In the 1960s further extensions were built. The hospital was decommissioned in stages from the mid 1980s, closing completely in 2003. The hospital site was sold to a property development company, Heathfield Limited, in May 2005. No redevelopment took  place and the buildings were placed on the Buildings at Risk register around 2009. [Sources: 8th Annual Report of the Board of Supervision for the Relief of the Poor in Scotland 1853, p.vi:  Alan Heaton-Ward Left Behind: A Study of Mental Handicap, 1978, pp.49-50, 53: The Builder, 7 July 1900, p.16; Buildings at Risk register ]

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