The Doric Columns
The General Sessions Fund, consisting of mortifications distributed by the General Kirk Session of St Nicholas parish; the Inveramsay Legacy, instituted by the Misses Smith of Inveramsay; the Calder Fund; and the Educational Trust, created by the putting together of several old benevolences yielding collectively about £6000 a year. Among the schemes carried on by the Trust are - a Girls' Home and School of Domestic Economy and a Boys and Girls Hospital school; it also provided bursaries for higher education and the Grammar School, free scholarships at evening schools, etc.
Drum's Lane Upperkirkgate
Robert Gordon's Hospital
ROBERT GORDON, founder of an hospital at Aberdeen, son of Arthur Gordon, advocate in Edinburgh, the 9th son of Robert Gordon of Straloch, was born about 1665. In early life he travelled on the Continent, where he spent his patrimony, amounting to about £1100. He afterwards went to Dantzic, where he engaged in trade; and, having acquired a small fortune, he returned to Scotland about the beginning of the 18th century, and went to reside at Aberdeen. Though styled merchant – a title in that city bestowed on any mere shopkeeper, – he does not appear t have entered into business. He was noted for his extreme parsimony, – arising, it is said, from a disappointment in love, which enabled him at his death to bequeath a sum of £10,300, for the purpose of erecting and maintaining an hospital at Aberdeen, which is called after his name, for the education and support of a certain number of boys, the sons of decayed merchants and guild brethren of that burgh. He died in January 1732.
Robert Gordon was a merchant from Aberdeen who spent much of his life based in Poland. On retiring to Aberdeen, he decided to leave his considerable fortune to found a ‘Hospital’ for boys’ accommodation and education. The school was built on the site of the old Dominican (Black) Friars building. The ‘Auld Hoose’, as it is known, was designed by William Adam. Before it could be occupied, it was taken over by the Duke of Cumberland as a fort for his troops on the way to crush the Jacobite rebellion at Culloden. As a result, the school opened with 14 pupils in 1750.
In 1881, the ‘Hospital’ was reconstituted as a day school under the name of ‘Robert Gordon’s College’.
It originally opened in 1750 as the result of a bequest by Robert Gordon an Aberdeen merchant who made his fortune from trading with Baltic Ports, and was known at its foundation as Robert Gordon's Hospital. This was 19 years after Gordon had died and left his Estate in a 'Deed of Mortification' to fund the foundation of the Hospital. The fine William Adam designed building was in fact completed in 1732, but lay empty until 1745 until Gordon's foundation had sufficient funds to complete the interior. During the Jacobite Rebellion, in 1746 the buildings were commandeered by Hanovarian Troops and named Fort Cumberland.
Gordon's aim was to give the poor boys of Aberdeen a firm education, or as he put it to "found a Hospital for the Maintenance, Aliment, Entertainment and Education of young boys from the city whose parents were poor and destitute". At this point all pupils at the school were boarders, but in 1881, the Hospital became a day school known as Robert Gordon's College. In 1903, the vocational education component of the college was designated a Central Institution (which was renamed as Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology in 1965 and became the Robert Gordon University in 1992). Boarding did not return until 1937 with the establishment of Sillerton House. In 1989 RGC became a co-educational school.
Sillerton - The origin of the Sillerton House name is not clear, but it is believed that, in Robert Gordon's lifetime, he was known as Gordon of Silverton (siller being Scots for silver), and on a 1746 map, the school is identified as Sillerton Hospital. An earlier map shows Silverton Hospital in the area of Schoolhill.
Aberdeen Medical Hospitals Timeline
The history of Medicine at Aberdeen is a long and distinguished one and is almost as long as the history of the University itself. The University was founded by Bishop William Elphinstone in 1495. It is the 3rd oldest University in Scotland and the 5th oldest in the UK. The earliest English-speaking Chair in Medicine was endowed by King James IV in 1497, when the post of Mediciner (equivalent to a modern professorship) was established. Medical teaching was not continuous after this, but the Mediciner's post was held by some noted physicians and the teaching of medicine was strongly revived in the 19th century when Aberdeen's Medical School became one of the most professional in Britain. By the early 20th century, the accommodation provided at Marischal College proved inadequate for the increasing student numbers. The Foresterhill site was purchased for the development of a unified hospital and teaching campus and students moved up to this site in 1938.
Infirmary opens at Aberdeen (Woolmanhill)
Woolmanhill had been chosen as the site of the new hospital because of the "goodness of the air in that place". It had been a site for sellers of wool and under the hill there ran a spring of water called the Well of Spa. The water was said to have been of medicinal qualities and effective in many diseases of the mouth, stomach, liver, kidneys and bladder.
On New Year's Day, 1740, the foundation stone of the Infirmary was laid where the original Royal Infirmary still stands, and in little more than two years thereafter the new building was opened for patients.
The Royal Infirmary, was rebuilt 1833-1840, in the Grecian style, at the cost of £17,000. It is a well-situated, large, commodious, and imposing building. It has three stories, the front being 166 feet long and 50 feet high, with a dome. A detached fever-house was built in 1872 for about £2500. The managers were incorporated by Royal Charter in 1773, and much increased in number in 1852. The institution is supported by land rents, feu-duties, legacies, donations, subscriptions, church collections, &c.
Each bed has on an average 1200 cubic feet of space. There are on the average
130 resident patients, costing each on the average a shilling daily, and the
number of patients treated may be stated at 1700 annually, besides outdoor
patients receiving advice and medicine. The recent annual expenditure has been
about £4300. There is a staff of a dozen medical officers.
1877 Aberdeen Hospital for Sick Children opens in Castle Terrace
Aberdeen Maternity Hospital grew out of Aberdeen General Dispensary, itself an early offshoot of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. The Dispensary was founded in 1781 and was independent by 1786. In 1790 the Dispensary split into 3 separate institutions but these combined, in 1823, to form the Aberdeen General Dispensary, Vaccine and Lying-in Institution. In 1870 the Dispensary bought 2 houses in the Guestrow, - one to serve as a maternity or lying-in unit, although qualified midwives were not appointed to serve until 1892. The Lying-In Institution moved to Barnett's Close in 1893 and in 1900 the Bank of Scotland Offices in Castle Street were bought and converted into the Maternity Hospital. The hospital grew in importance and finally won its independence in 1912, when it gained its own Board of Directors. In 1919 a Prenatal Department was added by the Town Council as part of their Mother and Child Welfare work. The Hospital was a late participant in the Joint Hospitals Scheme in Aberdeen - not least because of its lack of funds. However, the Infirmary and the University, who jointly owned most of the Foresterhill site, gifted land to the Maternity Hospital and building started in 1934. The new hospital opened in 1937 with 32 beds at a cost of £52,000. 8 beds were added in 1939. In 1941 the Antenatal Hospital was added at the expense of the Corporation of Aberdeen and the County Councils of Aberdeen and Kincardine. In 1948 the Maternity, like other hospitals on the Foresterhill site, was taken over by the National Health Service. Until 1971 it was administered by the Aberdeen Special Hospitals Board of Management. From 1971 to 1974 it was administered by the Foresterhill and Associated Hospitals Board, and from 1974 it became part of the South District of Grampian Health Board.
New Royal Infirmary at Foresterhill
The idea of centralising services, key to the National Health Service, had an important forerunner at Aberdeen where a joint hospitals scheme was devised by Professor Matthew Hay, the City Medical Officer of Health. His bold aim to bring together the different voluntary Hospitals services in Aberdeen on one large site bore fruit at Foresterhill. Here the new Royal Infirmary was built alongside a Maternity Hospital and Children’s Hospital, together with a Nurses’ home and the Medical School buildings of Aberdeen University. They shared services including steam for heating, kitchens, and sterilising and laundry facilities. The University undertook pathological, bacteriological and biochemical work for the hospitals. The new Aberdeen Royal Infirmary building was designed by James Brown Nicol (1867–1953) in 1927 and occupied a central position in this ambitious scheme. Impressively severe and uncompromising in grey granite, the infirmary consisted of 3 five-storey ward blocks for medical, surgical and special cases. The ward blocks extended south from the gently curved east–west corridor, fanning out from the central administration area. This arrangement was a welcome variation to the usual long, straight barrack-like corridors, and allowed a freer access of air and sunshine into the wards. When the infirmary opened in 1936 the Aberdeen Press and Journal was warm in its praise, and along the way noted that it had 1,995 ‘ultra-modern’ doors and 2,652 windows.
The Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, was built in 1929. This hospital at Foresterhill replaced an older, more cramped building and comprised 4 wards, all single storey and each with a veranda to allow the children to be wheeled outside in their beds in fine weather. The hospital also had an operating theatre, an outpatient department and an isolation unit.
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI) is now the largest hospital within NHS Grampian. It is situated on a self-contained, 50 hectares (125 acres) site at Foresterhill, to the north west of the city centre.
The ARI is the main acute teaching hospital in Grampian and has about 900 hospital beds. It provides a complete range of medical and clinical specialities, with the exception of heart and liver transplants. Close links with the University of Aberdeen have made it a centre of pioneering medical research in a number of fields.
1933 Under Construction -
The Foresterhill campus currently covers 56 hectares and has been jointly owned and occupied by the NHS and the University of Aberdeen since the site was acquired in the early 20th Century. The Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (East End) hospital was constructed in the 1930s with the addition of Phase 1 in 1960s and Phase Phase 2 in the 1970s. NHS Grampian provides all healthcare services for the population of the Grampian area, and specialist tertiary services for the North of Scotland. The campus has been developed in a piecemeal way and many parts of it are no longer fit for purpose or are nearing the end of their lifespan. The development will ensuring the delivery of educational and healthcare services to the highest standards but also to create an attractive campus environment that will have a positive impact on the quality of life of patients, visitors, staff and students alike.
It was built as the Cunningar Hospital in 1877, a fever hospital, the Clock and bell being transferred from the water house. When Aberdeen was struck by an outbreak of Typhoid Fever in May and June of 1964, this hospital was the centre of the City's fight back against the infection. There were over 500 victims of the fever but only 1 death, a tribute to the quality of care offered by the medical and nursing staff.
The Lunatic Asylum was 1st instituted in 1799, and a building erected for the purpose at a cost of £3484, towards which the Magistrates, as Trustees of Mr. Cargill's charity, contributed £1130, on condition of being permitted to send 10 pauper patients gratuitously; and for the reception of an increasing number of patients, and their requisite classification, some ground adjoining the asylum was purchased, and an additional building erected, in 1819, at a cost of £13,135, towards which the Governors appropriated a bequest of £10,000 by John Forbes, . In 1836, about 11 acres of land were purchased for £3000, in the cultivation of which many of the patients are engaged; several workshops have also been erected for such as show any predilection for mechanical pursuits, and to these are added the powerful influences of religious worship, for which a chapel has been erected.
The renamed Royal Lunatic Asylum, (Cornhill) opened in 1800, consists of 2 separate houses, valued in 1870 at £40,000 in an enclosure of 40 acres. It is under the same management as the infirmary. The recent daily average of patients has been about 420, at an annual cost of £13,000. The annual rate for each pauper is £25, 10s.
Originally there was a 'bedlam' for the insane at Clarkseat, in the Berryden and Elmhill area. The bedlam opened in 1800 with 12 No. 8 ft square cells, but this institution was for wealthier patients.
John Gordon, Esq., of Murtle, in 1815, bequeathed considerable property to trustees, for pious and charitable uses, of which they assigned £100 per annum to the lecturers on practical religion in King's and Marischal Colleges, £150 to aged female servants, £150 towards the support of Sunday schools, £300 for the establishment of an hospital for female orphans, and the residue in annual donations to the Deaf and Dumb Society, and other institutions. Mr. John Carnegie, in 1835, left nearly £8000 to trustees, for the establishment of an Orphan Hospital for females, and in 1836, Mrs. Elmslie, of London, bequeathed for the same purpose £26,000; with these funds, an appropriate building has been erected, on the west side of the town, and properly endowed. The Asylum for the Indigent Blind was instituted in 1818, by the trustees of Miss Cruickshank, who devoted the bulk of her property to that purpose, which, after the funds had been suffered for some years to accumulate, has been carried into effect, and an appropriate building erected.
Kingseat Mental Hospital Newmacher. Designed by Marshall MacKenzie, the foundation stone of Kingseat was laid on 14 September 1901 and the institution was built on the then revolutionary segregate or villa system in the style of Alt Scherbitz near Leipzig. .It occupied 337 acres of Kingseat Estate, which had been purchased far £6,250. It opened on 16 May 1904 at a total cost of £125,300. It was this 1st hospital in the UK with this layout having 5 blocks for each gender including 6 closed wards. Additional villas were built later and in 1930 responsibility was transferred from the Parish Council to Aberdeen City. By 1938 patient numbers had risen to 735. It was requisitioned on the outbreak of the Second World War, by the Admiralty, and all patients had to be evacuated. Kingseat functioned as a Naval Auxiliary Hospital throughout the conflict for casualties from the Atlantic and Arctic Theatres of War, eventually becoming the largest Naval Hospital in the Empire. It was not handed back to the Town Council until 28 February 1946. The task of re-conditioning and re-equipping was taken in hand immediately, but there was considerable difficulty in recruiting both nursing and domestic staff. In 1962 a halfway house, the Kingseat Rehabilitation Centre, was opened at 375 Great Western Road in Aberdeen for day and out-patient care. From 1974 the hospital was administered by the South District of Grampian Health Board, although administratively it lay in the North District. The hospital continued to admit patients needing psychiatric care until the 1990s when changes in the provision of mental health services and the growing emphasis on care in the community led to a decline in patient numbers. Kingseat Hospital was closed at the end of March 1995.
The Milne Bequest Trust, founded by the late Dr John Milne of Bombay ; the Watt Bequest, established by the late John Watt, Snr., advocate in Aberdeen, to be administered by the School Board; the Midbeltie Fund, instituted by James Allan, Esq., of Midbeltie:
The Deaf and Dumb Institution was established by subscription, in 1819; but, from the inadequacy of the funds, only one-half of the expense of maintenance is afforded to the inmates, who generally derive the remainder from other charitable funds; the management is vested in a committee, and the teacher is allowed to receive private boarders, who are not chargeable to the funds.
The General Dispensary, Vaccine, and Lying-in Institution, founded in 1823, has as many as 6781 cases in one year. The Hospital for Incurables has a daily average of 26 patients, and the Ophthalmic and Auric Institution has had 671 cases in a year.
Oldmill Reformatory (1857), 2 miles West of the town, is occupied on an average by about 150 boys, and Mount Street Reformatory (1862) by some 25 girls.
New Poor House - A boys' reformatory opened on this site in 1857, with 50 lads under the control of a Governer and a Matron. It took its name from the Oldmill farm. In 1900 the land was sold to the parish council. In time the boys were moved out and a new structure erected with a viaduct to the main road. Naturally the women and men were accommodated in separate wings of the New Poor House which was opened on 15 May 1907. In keeping with the spirit of the age, life has been described as 'spartan but not intentionally unkind'.
In the 19th century around 70 Poorhouses were built in Scotland. Many of these not only housed the very poorest in society, but also offered varying degrees of medical attendance for the sick and provided some level of care for ‘paupers’ suffering from mental illness. The largest, set up in populous towns and cities, developed separate infirmaries and asylums that operated in tandem with other state provision. In their planning and design they evolved into a distinct building type, which, despite the often restricted funding, resulted in some handsome architectural responses
In 1894 central control of the Poor Law and its buildings was taken over by the Local Government Board (LGB), which was also responsible for the control of infectious diseases. Unsurprisingly, then, the Board was keen to improve medical facilities within poorhouses. Larger urban poorhouses commonly had separate blocks for infectious cases, and even the smallest would have provided some separation. A more sophisticated separation of the medical and nonmedical functions of the poorhouse was introduced at Oldmill Poorhouse in Aberdeen (now Woodend Hospital). Designed by the local firm of Brown & Watt, it opened on 15th May 1907 and was one of the last poorhouses to be built in Scotland. It comprised 2 sections: the Poorhouse and the Hospital. The Hospital section was further divided into 2, with one part for infectious cases and the other for the non-infectious. The Aberdeen Daily Journal report on the plans for the Oldmill Poorhouse in 1901 noted that: As the general view of the Poorhouse to most people will be from the Skene Road, a few 100 yards away, it is not intended that any expense should be put upon fine masonry details, and the effect of a satisfactory composition will, therefore, be obtained by means of the grouping of the various buildings and arranging them in such a fashion as to give a suitable yet dignified appearance to the whole. Surprisingly, the main Poorhouse was still closely based on the 1847 model plan. It is perhaps not insignificant that both Alexander Brown (1853–1925) and George Watt (1865–1931) had connections with Mackenzie & Matthews, the architects of the model plan. Brown had worked as an architectural surveyor for the firm early in his career at the same time that Watt was serving his articles there. The chief variation from the model plans is the addition of a tall clock tower. This elaborately decorated structure topped by a cupola housed the large water tanks. Despite its dated form, the original buildings in sparkling grey granite form an impressive group, retaining many of their contemporary features. In the Hospital block the diamond-shaped glazing patterns of the upper sashes add a dash to an otherwise severe building Oldmill was one of the 1st poor law institutions to have a separate Nurses’ Home from the outset. This was a mark of the progress in poor law medical provision – in the early years nursing was done by the paupers.
Oldmill Hospital - The New Poor House became Oldmill Military Hospital from 1915 to 1919. A different view shows a parade in the grounds. In this view a figure guards the gatehouse. After the war the General Hospital concentrated on the sick poor and the special hospital became a TB unit. It was taken over by the City Council and named Woodend (Municipal) Hospital in 1927. Many improvements followed. Since 1989 it has been a centre far non-urgent arthopaedic surgery and geriatric care. The other departments far oncology, general surgery and so forth moved to Forester Hill.
The House of Refuge was established in 1836, by subscription, aided by a donation of £1000 from George Watt, Esq., and is supported by annual contributions; the number of inmates, in 1839, was 420, of whom 120 males and 90 females, who were under 14 years of age, were instructed in the ordinary branches of a useful education. The House of Industry and Magdalene Asylum at Seabank (1854) were also founded chiefly by Mr. Watt, who, for that purpose, conveyed to Trustees the property of Old Mill, producing a rental of £164.
Old Machar operated a poorhouse, location unknown, from around 1849, with accommodation for 47 inmates. A new poorhouse, capable of housing up to 200, was erected in 1853 at the north side Fonthill Road, Aberdeen.
The building was designed by William Henderson. The new poorhouse's location and layout are shown on the 1890s map inset. Became Fonthill Barracks
Following the opening of Oldmill Poorhouse in 1908, the buildings were acquired by the Territorial Force Association and converted into Barracks. The site has now been cleared and redeveloped for housing.
A Hospital for the maintenance and education of 5 orphan or destitute boys, and as many girls, and for which, at present, a house has been hired in the Gallowgate, was founded by a bequest of Alexander Shaw, in the year 1807. The boys are apprenticed, and the girls placed out as servants; the former, on the expiration of their indentures, and the latter after 5 years' service in the same family, receive a premium of £10. There are also numerous religious societies.
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