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Main Building, Woodend General Hospital, Aberdeen

A Category B Listed Building in Aberdeen, Aberdeen

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Latitude: 57.1471 / 57°8'49"N

Longitude: -2.1717 / 2°10'18"W

OS Eastings: 389709

OS Northings: 806260

OS Grid: NJ897062

Mapcode National: GBR S10.Z0

Mapcode Global: WH9QP.MM29

Plus Code: 9C9V4RWH+R8

Entry Name: Main Building, Woodend General Hospital, Aberdeen

Listing Name: Eday Road Woodend Hospital, Main Building

Listing Date: 1 March 1993

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 356008

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB20826

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Aberdeen

County: Aberdeen

Town: Aberdeen

Electoral Ward: Kingswells/Sheddocksley/Summerhill

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

Tagged with: Hospital building

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Introduction: Hospital complex, principally the former Oldmill Poor House, designed by Brown and Watt of Aberdeen in 1901 and opened for inmates on 14th and 21st May 1907. Some buildings have been added to the group over the years, notably the 1930s Nurses Home. Most blocks built of granite, with slated roofs and most glazing is original, sometimes decorative also.

MAIN BUILDING: which has huge symmetrical south front with decorative and prominent water tower set back from centre. Centre range 3 storeys and with U-plan front 2-storey canted windows in advanced outer gables, 3-bay inner part with openings recessed behind arcade at ground, windows above with pediments over. This range was to contain the poorhouse proper, administration and at rear the dining hall which could serve as a function room, with a gallery at one end, kitchens etc Aberdeen Daily Journal, 22.11.1901. Wings containing mens and womens wards respectively are plainer, 2 storeys, and articulated by series of projecting gables containing large windows, verandahs cover parts of ground floor; slated ogee-domed circular pavilions at outer angles, modern additions either end; ground floor windows mostly bipartite with single 1st floor windows above,these mostly small-paned sash and case in combination with top-hoppers (a characteristic) feature of some hospital buildings, allowing for different air-flow as appropriate to the weather. To rear, series of plain wings, also stair windows. Childrens ward adjoins to rear of female wing (ie at north east). Forecourt area defined by iron-railed boundary wall which has identical pair octagonal and conical-roofed open shelters/lodges. Approached originally from south (Queens Road: main entrance now on N) through long avenue.

Statement of Interest

The site chosen was that of the former boys' Reformatory (which was demolished) comprising 55 acres of land. Oldmill was constructed as a Poor Law institution, one of the last poorhouses in the country to have been built, and had provision in the first instance for 650 inmates plus staff and nurses' residences, with arrangements for accommodating more if necessary. Contracts for building were accepted by the Aberdeen City Parish Council in June 1902.

Compares in terms of general classification of patients, lay-out and in overall scale with Edinburgh's Craiglockhart and Glasgow's Govan (now Southern General), all built as poorhouses, though Oldmill (Woodend) had no special provision for the mentally ill.

Taken over, first during the Great War (from 24th May 1915 to 1st June 1919) as a military hospital; thereafter, the general and the special blocks were taken over by Aberdeen Town Council, that part opening in October 1927 as Woodend Municipal Hospital. The poorhouse element transferred to the Town Council as a result of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1929, but as part of Public Assistance, not Public Health, as was the case with the hospital blocks: passed to NHS in 1948.

Provision of a nurses' residence represents fairly advanced planning for this date; it was: "erected in conformity with the modern idea that it is desirable to provide rest and recreation for nurses away from the scene of their daily avocations. Such homes are ordinary adjuncts of 'up-to-date' institutions of this kind..." (Aberdeen Daily Journal 30.3.1905). Though the reporter for the same newspaper had previously described such provision as "A notable feature..." (22.11.1901).

Besides construction of the viaduct, some technical aspects of the hospital are worth noting; eg an artesian well was sunk to a depth of 250 feet, to reduce costs of water rates, and there were about 2 miles of passages constructed for ventilation, lighting, heating etc.

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