Today we explored a lost hospital established in 1855, photographing it's beautiful decay and learning of the turbulent story behind it.
"And they wanted to punish them for it"
"Strathmartine Hospital" was established in 1855 as asylum for "imbecile"/"idiot" children and is believed to be Scotland's first and oldest institution for people with learning disabilities.
At it's peak the site had over 1000 patients, kept in different "wards"/housing complexes.
Listening to the stories of former patients, this place was everything but helping them deal with their disability.
Things were strictly regulated and routinized, with only little freedom to be had. And the solution to deal with those "having a breakout" was to put them in a seclusion room.
And according to a statistic from 1977, about 45% of residents were here for social reasons and not because they required hospital care.
With the shift of the public opinion about how to deal with people with learning disabilities, it was decided to decommission the hospital, starting in 1984. The hospital was finally closed in 2003 and sold to a property developer.
what is left after 14 years?
Coming to the site 14 years later, I was surprised to still see so many of the buildings standing. Most houses were locked off to keep trespassers from entering, properly due a youngster dying on site in 2002 and numerous fires over the years.
However we were able to visit the beautiful former indoor pool and several other buildings.
Nowadays the huge complex seems to be slowly getting reclaimed by wildlife. There are many potential homes in the old trees and lost buildings for owls and bats. We also saw some deer and a big, fat squirrel roaming around on the former hospital grounds.
It was lovely to see life is returning to this place. I hope you enjoyed me taking you on a little trip to the lost hospital!
Historic timeline; Interesting video with interviews of former residents and nurses;
Article on the recent fire breakout; "Youngsters" exploring the site
This article and the included photos are licensed as CC-BY-NC 3.0 (non-commercial use, give credit).