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Glasgow, Balornock Road, Stobhill Hospital, Former Mortuary

A Category C Listed Building in Glasgow, Glasgow

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Latitude: 55.8939 / 55°53'37"N

Longitude: -4.2157 / 4°12'56"W

OS Eastings: 261539

OS Northings: 668966

OS Grid: NS615689

Mapcode National: GBR 0V6.HY

Mapcode Global: WH4Q7.64S0

Plus Code: 9C7QVQVM+GP

Entry Name: Glasgow, Balornock Road, Stobhill Hospital, Former Mortuary

Listing Name: Former Mortuary, Stobhill Hospital, Balornock Road, Glasgow

Listing Date: 19 June 2014

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 402337

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB52237

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Glasgow

County: Glasgow

Town: Glasgow

Electoral Ward: Springburn/Robroyston

Traditional County: Lanarkshire

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Thomson and Sandilands, 1900'04. Symmetrical, single-storey, 3-bay, square-plan former mortuary building, falling to single-storey and basement at rear. Situated on steep sloping site at far eastern edge of former Stobhill Hospital. The building is of red brick with ashlar dressings. The entrance elevation has a central, moulded doorpiece with a round-arched pediment above. There are flanking bays with canted 4-light windows with square-headed parapets and tall, central finials. The upper storey transomed and mullioned windows to the rear have distinctive breaking-eaves bell-cast pediments. The windows are predominantly timber sash and case, some are metal casement. The jerkin-headed roof has grey slates and red ridge tiles and raised skews.

The interior was seen in 2014. There is a series of separate rooms with a narrow stair case to basement. There is a pair of round-arched openings in the hallway and one of the rooms in the basement is lined with timber boarding.

Statement of Interest

The 1900-1904 Stobhill Hospital mortuary was designed by the prominent Glasgow firm of Thomson and Sandilands and forms an important component of the original hospital complex. The building is situated on the far eastern aspect of the site and has good decorative detailing for a utilitarian hospital building. It has been relatively unaltered to either the exterior or interior which is also unusual. Although many of these separate mortuaries were built within large hospital complexes, many have now been demolished and the survival of the one at Stobhill is notable.

The mortuary is built of red brick which was used for all the original buildings at Stobhill. This is not an uncommon material for large hospital sites of the early 20th century but is less commonly used in Scotland. The building has some good architectural detailing particularly in the parapets above the windows, the round-arch above the door and in the bell-cast shape above the windows. The jerkin-headed roof and distinctive and prominent windows to sides and rear are also interesting design features of the building.

The room layout is thought to be largely as original, although there is thought to have originally been a lift to the basement. There is a later additional room in the basement, which does not appear until the map of 1932. The 2-storey arrangement of the mortuary is unusual, but it is presumed that offices were upstairs and the bodies were stored in the basement level.

The majority of large hospital sites from the late 19th and early 20th centuries were built with integral mortuaries on site, often located on the edges of the complex, to provide facilities for deceased patients. Some of the mortuaries also incorporated chapels, but there is no evidence of an integral chapel here. As the practice and regulation surrounding the keeping of bodies changed over the course of the 20th century, many of the original mortuaries became unsuitable for their original use and fell into disrepair or were demolished. As the large hospital sites themselves were developed or demolished, more mortuaries were demolished.

The mortuary at Stobhill was extended to the rear in the early part of the 20th century with small, single storey flat-roofed extensions. These are likely to have provided further accommodation for the storage of bodies. The mortuary itself was replaced in the course of the 20th century with a new building, and this original mortuary was latterly used as Administration Offices. It is now no longer used.

Built as a Poor Law Hospital at the beginning of the 20th century, Stobhill is one of the last of this type of institution to be built. (It is thought the Oldmill Hospital in Aberdeen was the last in 1907). Although there had been some poorhouses in Scotland in the early part of the 19th century, it was not until after the 1845 Poor Law (Scotland) Act that the majority were erected. The Act tried to better the provision for the sick and able-bodied poor in Scotland. Poorhouses ranged from smaller buildings in more rural districts to large complexes in the major towns and cities. Of the larger complexes, of which Stobhill is an example, only a handful remain. These are: the City Poorhouse, Edinburgh; Ravenscraig Hospital, Greenock; the Southern General Hospital, Glasgow; and Woodend hospital, Aberdeen (see separate listings). Other large hospital sites exist, but these were either general hospitals, or those built for the mentally ill.

The hospital catered for the chronically ill poor, including children, for whom there was little other hospital provision. The site originally consisted of a number of separate wards, together with a variety of centrally placed ancillary buildings including the water tower, administration block and church and some other buildings at the outer edges of the site including a lodge and this mortuary. During the course of the 20th century the site developed as more accommodation was required and as it expanded, some of the original buildings were demolished. Key buildings remain however, and the site as a whole is an important surviving, former Poor Law hospital of its period.

Thomson and Sandilands architects' firm existed between 1886-1914 and it concentrated on work in and around the Glasgow district. The practice produced a number of significant commissions which were won in competition (Stobhill was one of these) and their work includes the Former Asylum at Gartloch, which also has distinctive tall towers, Govan Town Hall (see separate listing) and the extensive shops and offices for the City's Improvement Trust in Trongate.

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