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.

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.

Ashludie 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.

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.

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.

Park 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.

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). The official opening by the Queen Mother took place in October 1968. An unsatisfactory attempt was made to link the terrace to the new building. (Sources: John Gifford, Dundee and Angus, The Buildings of Scotland, 2012. Dundee University Archives, DDH. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Plan 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.

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.

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 and Nursing Home was opened in its new premises on 24 February 1915. It was designed by James Findlay.

South Front of the former hospital, photographed in 2018 © H. Richardson

The hospital had its origins in a Dispensary for Women established in Dundee in about 1891. 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. It claimed to be the first private hospital in Scotland for the treatment of women. Three women were the chief promoters of the scheme: the social reformer Mary Lily Walker, Dr Alice Moorhead and Dr Emily Thomson. The aim was to provide hospital treatment for women who wished to by women medical practitioners and to provide a private home for women with limited means.

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

By 1911 it had been decided to build a new hospital. Fund-raising events were held, at first with the idea of enlarging the existing building, but Mrs F. B. Sharp of Wemysshall in Fife offered £4,000 to build a new hospital. A memorial recording her gift can still be seen set into the boundary wall.

Memorial plaque on boundary wall, photographed in 2018 © H. Richardson

James Findlay’s plans for the hospital were approved by the Town Council in 1912 and two years later the building was completed. However, on the eve of the hospital’s opening a fire broke out causing major damage and destroying all the woodwork. It took another year or so to restore and rebuild the hospital.

Former Dundee Women’s Hospital, photographed in 2018 © H. Richardson

The fire was not accidental. It seems to have been an arson attack by suffragettes – a rather surprising target perhaps. The artist and suffragette, Ethel Moorhead was Alice Moorhead’s sister, one of the founders of the hospital. Ethel Moorhead was connected with a number of arson attacks, amongst other militant acts – from smashing windows in London to throwing an egg at Winston Churchill. But she was also the first suffragette in Scotland to be force fed while in prison in Edinburgh. Although she was seriously ill after this, she recovered and continued campaigning. It was suggested that she was with her friend and collaborator Fanny Parker in a failed attempt to blow up Burns Cottage in Alloway in July 1914.

Whether or not she was behind the attack on the Dundee Women’s Hospital does not seem to be recorded. Suffragette literature was found in the neighbourhood and a message was left at the scene that read: ‘no peace till we get the vote. Blame the King and the Government’, the same message left at similar incidents all over the country. [1] The fire was spotted by a nurse at the nearby Victoria Hospital who raised the alarm. It was reported that late the previous night and early on the morning of the fire, a grey, or slate-coloured motor car was seen in the district containing several women. The night watchman on duty at the hospital also reported seeing three women having a look at the place early one morning after the fire. He thought that they might be ‘of a mind to return to complete their work’ . It was early dawn and the light uncertain. On seeing the watchman the women quickly disappeared. They appeared to be young and well dressed’. [2] The timing was unfortunate for the hospital-  the attack was made in early June. After war broke out in September the suffragettes suspended their campaign.

While the rebuilding work was carried out, the hospital moved into temporary accommodation at 19 Windsor Street. At the end of February 1915 the new hospital was officially opened. The two storey building set on high ground with commanding views south over the Tay provided twenty beds. On the ground floor at the east end was a sun room: ‘an ideal little nook … where the convalescents can have a sun-bath at their leisure’. [3] The covered veranda and balcony above were deep enough to allow beds to be pushed out onto them. Inside cream distempering set off brown woodwork, while palms and flowering bulbs adorned the corridors.

The contractors, like the architect, were almost all local: building work was carried out by James R Anderson, bricklayer, builder and contractor,  E Esplanade, (whose home address in a 1912 directory was given as 4 Morgan Street); the joiners were Alexander Bruce & Son, Victoria Joinery Works, 129 Clepington Road; the plumbers John Orr & Son, registered plumbers and sanitary engineers, 272 Hawkhill; workshop, 31A Ryehill Lane; (home 290 Balckness road): slater and harl work, William Brand & Son, slaters and cement workers, St Vincent Street Broughty Ferry: glazier work, Lindsay & Scott, glass merchants, glaziers, and zinc and lead window makers, 24 to 28 Bank Street; branch 86 Victoria road: painter work, Allan Boath; painter and decorator, 141 and 143 Nethrgate; h. 171 Perth Road: grates, G. H. Nicoll & Co.: heating, Henry Walker & Son: Verandah ironwork, Thomas Russell, smith and engineer, St Andrew’s Iron works, 50 and 52 St Andrew’s street, h. 8 Nelson Terrace: gates and railings, George Mann, blacksmith 40 Seafield Road: walls, William Bennet, builder and contractor, 41 Reform street, yard , 11 Parker street h. 93 Arbroath road: roads, David Horsburgh, carting contractor, 65 Trades lane h. Eden villa, 83 Clepington Rd: grounds, James Laurie & Son, landscape gardeners & valuators, Blackness Nursery.

This advertisement for James Laurie & Son, who laid out the grounds of the hospital, appeared in Kellie’s Directory of Scotland in the 1920s. 

The hospital was transferred to the National Health Service in 1948 and latterly became an annexe of the Royal Infirmary. It closed in 1975 but was retained by Tayside Health Board until the 1980s when it was sold with outline planning permission for redevelopment. Full permission to convert the hospital into flats was granted to the new owners, Hilltown Property Company, in 1988. [Notes: 1. The Suffragette, 5 June 1914: 2. Dundee People’s Journal, 6 June 1914 p.9: 3. Dundee Courier, 25 Feb 1915, p.4. Sources: Dundee University Archives, plans: Dundee Courier, 24 Feb 1915, p.6: Wikipedia: Dundee online planning portal]

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.

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.

Postcard of King’s Cross Hospital, postmarked 1909. The message on the reverse reads ‘Am enjoying myself while you are working Molly and was sent to Miss Scott, c/o A. Stein in Great Junction Street, Leith © H. Blakeman

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.

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

In 1962 work began on a new 50-bed isolation block to replace temporary accommodation erected in 1944. The design was supposedly suggested by a block which had been built in Stockholm. It was officially opened by the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Scotland, Dr J. H. F. Brotherston, early in 1964 and was claimed to be the first of its kind in Britain. The cost was around £150,000. [Sources:Dundee City Archives, minutes of the Dundee Police Commissioners: The Hospital, vol.58, no.6, June 1962, p.412, vol.60, no.4 April 1964, p.237.]

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

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.

Aerial photograph taken by RCAHMS in 2010

From the earliest years of the National Health Service it was intended that there should be a new hospital centre in Dundee and a planning sub-committee was constituted in 1949 to determine what should be provided at the new centre and what form the hospital should take. By 1951 little progress had been made, and already the Secretary of State had advised a reduction in the size of the site to be acquired insisting that it should be the minimum necessary for the buildings and any likely extensions, and that there should be consultation with the Agricultural Executive Committee with regards to the boundaries of the site so as to cause the least possible interference with agricultural use.

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

The planning stages required a full assessment of existing facilities and resources, establishing what was needed to provide a comprehensive service, as well as the principle on which the buildings should be planned in the light of the best experience and advice available. In the simplest of terms, should they build upwards or outwards, a vertical or a horizontal hospital? Both types had their devotees, and each had its advantages.  After due consideration the committee decided to recommend something of both, or neither one thing nor the other.

The men who formed the planning committee were drawn from the medical side as well as local councillors, representatives from the medical school and the Eastern Regional Hospitals Board (ERHB) architect, James Deuchars. Small groups from within the committee visited Charing Cross Hospital in London, where plans for a new teaching hospital were at an advanced stage  and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Centre, Birmingham. A rather larger group volunteered for the fact-finding mission to visit hospitals in Sweden that took place in the Autumn of 1951.

Advice was also given by the Nuffield Foundation and the King Edward’s Hospital Fund for London. The Nuffield Foundation was at that time undertaking investigations into the functions and design of hospitals and was therefore keen to be associated with the ERHB in its surveys and investigations. The King Edward’s Fund held plans of recently built hospitals on the Continent and the USA which they were happy to make available to the Dundee team.

Maggie’s Centre, Ninewells Hospital. Photographed in 2017, © H. Richardson

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. Frank Gehry designed the centre for Dundee, which was built in 2003. It was the first new-build Maggie’s – the earlier centres had incorporated existing structures. Gehry’s inspiration was traditional Scottish vernacular buildings.

Maggie’s Centre, Ninewells Hospital. Photographed in 2017, © H. Richardson

To the west of the centre the grounds have been landscaped to designs by Arabella Lenox-Boyd. It is centred on a labyrinth, based on that in Chartres cathedral.

ROYAL DUNDEE LIFF HOSPITAL   The principal building was constructed 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 (Gowrie House) to the south of the main complex. This is a much richer building with some good plaster work and wood panelling inside.

Detail from the 25-inch OS map, surveyed in 1900, showing the main asylum complex and the smaller Gowrie House to the south. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

Various additions were made under the NHS, mostly in the 1960s. These have all now been demolished since the hospital’s closure in 2001. The historic core of the complex has been converted to housing, while a new psychiatric unit was built at Ninewells.

ROYAL VICTORIA HOSPITAL At the heart of the hospital is Balgay House of c.1760, which was purchased by Dundee Town Council to provide a hospital for incurables.

Balgay House, from the OS Town Plan of Dundee, 1870. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland

The classically detailed house has a slightly projecting pedimented centrepiece and similarly projecting end bays which rise up to ogival roofs.

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.]

Extract from the 2nd-edition OS map, revised in 1937. Reproduced by permission of the National Library of Scotland
Royal Victoria Hospital, photographed in February 2018 © H. Richardson

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.

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, KING’S CROSS, MacAlpine Road (demolished)    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 the 1950s it was known as King’s Cross Hospital (West), but was no longer in use by 1974.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Aerial 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 ]

23 thoughts on “Dundee

  1. Excellent information. I am in the US but researching social history of Dundee Scotland in the 19th century for my own interests. Thank you for making this accessible.

  2. I worked in a Dundee hospital, in 1971, that had clinics on Constitution Street. I can’t find any info on that hospital. I need details for my UK pension application. I live in the USA now. If anyone has any info that would be great. Thank you. Louise Ho

  3. This is a great website for anyone whose family came from the Dundee area.
    I’ve come across someone who, at the 1901 census, was in a Convalescent Home at Monifieth, and I’m trying to find out more about this. Does anyone have any information on this, please?

    • Could this have been the Dundee Convalescent Home at Barnhill? On the OS Map for 1900 the home was outwith the burgh boundary for Broughty Ferry – the boundary later moved, placing the home within the burgh. As it was run by Dundee Royal Infirmary, the records for the home are with the infirmary records, and they are at Dundee University Archives.

      • Thanks, Harriet! I hadn’t thought of boundary changes, that sounds very likely to be the place. Part of the confusion was that the patient then signed his army attestation papers within a month or so, so I was guessing he wasn’t in as a result of long-term medical care, e.g. TB or mental health care. Maybe he was getting his flat feet sorted before he joined up!

      • there’s a happy thought! I certainly can’t see any other convalescent home marked on the map, but haven’t tried trawling post-office directories. The British Newspaper Archive worth checking too.

    • Monifieth may appear to be a suburb of Dundee, but it is, and always has been, outside the city. You’ll find the Monifieth convalescence homes and other institutions on the Angus page. Note: until the early 20th century, Broughty Ferry was also outside Dundee City’s jurisdiction and also came under Angus (aka Forfarshire).

  4. I’m pretty sure that that would be the correct place, as it all fits quite nicely. This is a great website – thanks for your help, much appreciated!

  5. Did not see any mention of isolaton hospital on McAlpine Road where a forestation is now loaqcated.

    • This was the smallpox hospital, King’s Cross. By the 1950s it seems to have been known as King’s Cross Hospital (West). It was roughly on the site of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, just north of the Kingsway. If you have any information about it, I would be very interested.

      • In the late 1940s and 1950s I was a wee lad living in a nearby prefab house. My pals were from the local area. One of them was the son of the lodge-keeper, a Mr Martin, and through his good grace we were allowed to play in a grassed area, football in winter and cricket in summer. Happy days!! At that time, the main building served as accomodation for single nurses.The rest of the buildings were not in use.

  6. Does anyone know of the existence of a Balgove Hospital in Dundee, An elderly lady told me she trained there prior to her marriage in 1960. The only reference to Balgove I can find is Newport on Tay or St Andrews.

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