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Latitude: 55.6349 / 55°38'5"N
Longitude: -4.673 / 4°40'22"W
OS Eastings: 231840
OS Northings: 641163
OS Grid: NS318411
Mapcode National: GBR 38.L0R8
Mapcode Global: WH2NX.6M1L
Plus Code: 9C7QJ8MG+WR
Entry Name: Ayrshire Central Hospital, Administration Building, Maternity Residences and Gatelodge
Listing Date: 3 December 1992
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 380036
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB35452
Building Class: Cultural
ID on this website: 200380036
County: North Ayrshire
Electoral Ward: Irvine West
Traditional County: Ayrshire
In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: all other buildings on the hospital site, including the extension to the northeast corner of the Administration Building (Outpatients Department) and the extension to the rear of the northern gate lodge.
The Administration Building, which was designed in 1935 and opened in 1941, was originally the Infectious Diseases Hospital. It was refurbished in 2009. The U-shaped plan is arranged around a rectangular courtyard. It comprises three symmetrical and interlinking blocks, which have their equivalent in the detached Maternity Residences to the south. The outer blocks to the north and south are two- and three-storeys respectively, and have largely matching elevations and plan forms. The main elevations are framed by curved stair towers breaking through the eaves and projecting five-bay end wings. The rear elevations are abutted by two deeply projecting returns, creating a U-plan courtyard with an arcaded ground floor to the central section. The returns to the southern block are terminated by concrete escape stairs. The central block to the west is single-storey with a double-height central range lit by clerestory windows. It is connected to the adjoining blocks via recessed and angled link corridors. The central entrance porch has the Arms of the County Council of Ayr breaking the eaves.
The flat roofs are concealed behind projecting parapets. The window openings are predominantly square-headed with plain surrounds, thin rendered or tiled cills and lying-pane replacement timber casements. There are projecting porches with stepped square-headed ingoes throughout.
The internal public areas of the Administration Building were seen in 2017. Refurbished around 2009 they largely consist of offices with medical facilities in the northern two-storey block. The outer blocks comprise a series of small rooms located on either side of long central corridors, which connect with the central block. The internal corridors are functional with terrazzo floors, plain walls and ceilings and original cast iron radiators. There are some original timber doors with lying-pane wired glazing and brass fittings. The stairs are concrete and terrazzo with curved half-landings, and a continuous central baluster. The central block has a mosaic of the Arms of the County Council of Ayr inset into the floor. The former dining/recreation hall to the central block has been altered in recent years (2017) with low-level partitions and a screen of glazed shutters inserted into the former stage/platform area. The original hall remains legible and retains original detailing such as the coffered ceiling, fluted pilasters, deep moulded cornicing and the Arms of the County Council of Ayr.
The Maternity Residences were designed in 1935 and opened in 1944, along with the now demolished Maternity Hospital. The linear plan comprises three symmetrical and interlinking blocks, which have their equivalent in the detached Administration Building to the north. The outer blocks to the east and west are three- and two-storeys respectively, and have largely matching elevations and plan forms. The front (north) elevations are framed by curved stair towers breaking through the eaves and projecting end wings. The rear elevations are abutted by two deeply projecting returns, creating a U-plan courtyard with an arcaded ground floor to the central section. The returns to the eastern block are terminated by concrete escape stairs. The central block is single-storey with a double-height range to the rear, which is lit by clerestory windows. It is connected to the adjoining blocks via recessed link corridors.
The flat roofs are concealed behind projecting parapets. The window openings are predominantly square-headed with plain surrounds and thin rendered or tiled cills. The openings were largely concealed behind metal sheeting or plywood but some lying-pane timber casements were visible (2017). There are projecting porches with stepped square-headed ingoes throughout.
The northern gate lodges (designed in 1935), are paired and flank the main entrance from Kilwinning Road. They are largely similar in style to the main blocks but have piended roofs with red clay tiles and shed dormer windows. The symmetrical front elevations are three-bays and have a projecting central porch with stepped ingoes breaking the eaves. The northern lodge has a two-bay extension to the west dating from the later 20th century. These lodges were refurbished around 2009, when the windows were replaced and the northern extension to the north lodge was added (excluded from the listing).
The interior of the southern lodge of the northern gate lodges was seen in 2017. The interior is functional and is similar in character to that of the Administration Building. It retains no features of note.
The southern gate lodges (designed in 1935), are paired and flank the southwest entrance from Kilwinning Road. They are largely similar in style to the main blocks but have piended roofs with red clay tiles. The symmetrical front elevations are three-bays and have a projecting central porch with stepped ingoes breaking the eaves.
Ayrshire Central Hospital is a rare example of a hospital complex in the International Modern style which was short-lived in Scotland. It was built as part of a new phase of hospital design in the 1930s and 1940s, which saw large centralised hospitals replacing the local fever hospitals. The design, planning and modern materials of the Modern Movement style was particularly suited to new hospital buildings, which aspired to providing cutting-edge medical care and treatment. There has been some alteration to the fabric, plan form and new development within the wider site but the overall integrity and character of the early buildings survives.
In our current state of knowledge the Administration Building, the former Maternity Residences and the northern and southern gate lodges meet the criteria for listing.
Age and Rarity
Designed by Ayrshire County Architects Office, Ayrshire Central Hospital was built to replace the small fever hospitals that were dotted across the county. It was also designed to meet the local authority's new responsibility for maternity cases, replacing the Seafield Maternity Home in Ayr. Plans for the complex were drawn up and overseen by the County Architect William Reid. However, Robert G. Lindsay, who had become County Architect by the time of the opening ceremony of 1941, may have been responsible for the design. An indicative footprint of the intended hospital complex is first shown on the Ordnance Survey Map, surveyed in 1938.
The interwar period was a notable phase in the building of infectious diseases hospitals. Improved roads and new transport options meant that an increasingly mobile population could travel to centralised hospitals. These large up-to-date facilities replaced the local fever hospitals, which were outdated, small and ill-equipped. The new hospitals provided improved care through specialised facilities and the segregation of patients on clinical grounds. The inclusion of residential facilities for medical staff also meant that a full-time medical service could be provided. After the Second World War of 1939-45 improvements in domestic sanitary conditions, treatment methods and the discovery of new drugs, led to a decline in mortality rates and reduced the time of a patients stay in hospital. The mass production of penicillin in particular, dramatically reduced the need for infectious diseases hospitals.
Thomas Tait's Hawkhead Hospital, Paisley, which was begun in 1932 and completed in 1936, set a new standard in hospital design in Scotland and was the model for Ayrshire Central Hospital. The International Modern style conveyed the sense of the advancement of medical science, and the most up-to-date hospital care. This contrasted with the classical and traditional styles of earlier infectious diseases hospitals. International Modernism was short lived in Scotland and buildings in this style are relatively rare. The buildings at Hawkhead Hospital are listed at category B (LB39010), except for wards 7 and 8, which are listed at category A (LB39011). As well as Ayrshire Central, Hawkhead also inspired the design of Inverurie Hospital (1936-40) by R Leslie Rollo. This remains a working hospital and is listed at category B (LB13320-13323).
Construction of Ayrshire Central Hospital began in 1935 and the buildings were completed in two stages on either side of the now subterranean Red Burn. Construction was nearing completion by 1938 but progress was stalled by the outbreak of the Second World War. Located to the north of the burn, the U-plan Infectious Diseases Hospital was opened in October 1941, and the estimated cost was £400,000 (Sunday Post, 19 October 1941). The Maternity Residences to the south were opened in 1944, along with the Maternity Hospital (which was demolished around 2008). In terms of scale, form and character, the Maternity Residences building was largely a repetition of the earlier Infectious Diseases Hospital (the Administration Building). However, it is linear in plan rather than U-plan, and there are some subtle differences in terms of scale, composition and detailing.
These buildings provided a total of 436 beds, including 236 for infectious disease patients, 60 for tubercular patients and 73 for maternity cases (Daily Record, 20 Oct 1941). Detached ward pavilions were also built to the northeast of the site, although these are not included as part of the listing. As cases of tuberculosis declined and hospital confinements increased, the specialisms within the hospital changed. The infectious diseases section became a more general area, whilst the ward pavilions were altered to accommodate a variety of new functions. Various additions and extensions were added across the site during the later 20th century, including the modern Outpatient Department to the northeast of the Administration Building. The ward pavilions have largely been replaced in recent years by new hospital buildings (2017). The former Infectious Diseases Building is now the Administration Building and was refurbished around 2009. The Maternity Residences have been vacant since at least 2007.
Like Hawkhead and Inverurie, Ayrshire Central is a rare and largely unaltered example of a hospital building in the International Modern style (see Architectural or Historic Interest section below). Completed during the Second World War, Ayrshire Central is also unusual as very few large public buildings were built during the period of the Second World War due to restrictions on building materials and licensing.
Architectural or Historic Interest
The interior of the Administration Building was altered as part of a major refurbishment scheme around 2009. Throughout the building's history, alterations have been made to the fabric and layout. There are some remaining features dating to the 1930s and 1940s, which are of interest in listing terms.
The public areas of the interior are largely plain with hard surface finishes and some simple detailing. This reflects the clinical nature of use and is standard for a hospital building of this period. Decorative detailing of the original scheme is largely confined to the former dining/recreation hall, and the central entrance hall, which has a mosaic of the Arms of the County Council of Ayr. The stair towers, which have curved windows and a continuous central baluster are particularly notable and are in keeping with Modern Movement design of the period.
The plan form within each block is largely symmetrical and comprises long internal corridors with small rooms on either side, the majority of which are served by one or two windows. The subdivision of rooms varies slightly between some floor levels. This plan arrangement is typical for a Modernist style building. The late 20th century extension to the northeast corner has minimal impact on the overall plan dating to 1935.
The original plan of the hospital site is still readable. The two principal buildings comprise three blocks, each of which is symmetrically arranged about a central axis. This balanced and symmetrical layout is a common characteristic of Modern Movement design. The symmetry of the Administration Building is of special interest in architectural planning terms. It is U-plan and arranged about a rectangular courtyard. Its main entrance block is directly aligned with the principal entrance route from Kilwinning Road. This is framed by the symmetry of the northern and southern blocks.
Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality
Ayrshire Central Hospital is a good example of a building in the International Modern style, displaying typical detailing such as smooth white render and linear features. The buildings have a well-balanced and streamlined appearance comprising symmetrical, geometric forms. The long and low composition emphasises horizontality, and this is further highlighted by the continuous parapets, lying pane glazing and brick base course. The curved stair towers provide a contrasting verticality, which is highlighted by their height and narrow tripartite windows.
The completion of the hospital complex was significantly delayed due to the outbreak of the Second World War. The Maternity Residences were completed three years after the opening of the Infectious Diseases Hospital but the design was conceived as part of the overall scheme. Very similar in terms of design, scale, character and detailing, the Maternity Residences building is largely a repetition of the main hospital building. There are some slight differences between the two, such as the plan form, the smaller scale of some blocks and slight variations in composition.
The design of Ayrshire Central Hospital was strongly influenced by Thomas Tait's Hawkhead Hospital in Paisley (1932-36), which revolutionised hospital design in Scotland. The International Modern style used cutting-edge building technology. This expressed the modernity of medical care, and the clean geometric forms evoked a sense of order and hygiene. This modern style contrasted sharply with the traditional, largely classical styles of the earlier infectious diseases hospitals.
As it was short lived in Scotland, buildings in the International Modernist style are relatively rare. Ayrshire Central Hospital is one of a group of three surviving local authority hospitals of this specialist type designed in this style. The other examples are Hawkhead Hospital in Paisley by Thomas Tait, and Inverurie Hospital by R. Leslie Rollo.
The design of Ayrshire Central Hospital had been attributed to William Reid, who was County Architect when the design was drawn up. However, Robert G. Lindsay, who was County Architect at the time of opening, claimed responsibility for the actual design. How far the executed work was the design of either man has not been fully investigated, although in June 1937 The Architect and Building News reported that Reid was the architect of 'new quarters for certain staff members', which cost £11,000.
Robert G. Lindsay had previously worked for the Ayrshire's Education Authority during the 1920s. When the County Council took over the Education Authority in 1929, he became involved in a wide range of architectural schemes for the local authority. He was therefore experienced in designing municipal institutions. Little is known about William Reid but he became County Architect for Ayrshire in the 1930s. Lindsay was appointed Depute County Architect 1938 and was elevated to County Architect in 1940. Lindsay later became known for his design of the 'Lindsay House', which was a fast-build reinforced concrete frame house developed during the Second World War and the origin of the 'Whitson Fairhurst' house (Dictionary of Scottish Architects).
The hospital buildings are set back on a large site to the east of Kilwinning Road. The two entrances to the northwest and southwest are flanked by paired gate lodges. The central block of the Administration Building is axially aligned with the main entrance to the northwest and the elevation is visible from Kilwinning Road. The Maternity Residences are located to the south of the site. Their setting has been partially altered by the demolition of the Maternity Hospital in the early 21st century. The site is not easily visible from external views due to mature planting lining the perimeter.
There has been substantial development of the hospital site in recent decades (2017), with a number of new hospital buildings erected, as well as extensions to the existing buildings (all of which are excluded from the listing). Additions include the Outpatients extension to the northeast corner of the Administration Building, and the new buildings to the east of the site, which replaced the former ward pavilions (2017).
Multiphase developments of different dates on large hospital sites are not uncommon. The later developments at Ayrshire Central Hospital have not had an adverse impact on the setting of the listed buildings.
There are no known regional variations
Close Historical Associations
There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2017).
Statutory address and listed building record revised in December 2017. Previously listed as 'Ayrshire Central Hospital, Administration Building, Maternity Residences and Gatelodge'.
External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.
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