In 1903, the Children’s Home Hospital opened in Aberfoyle. Its initial primary purpose was to care for children with tubercular bone diseases. After it moved to Strathblane in 1913, it latterly provided long-term or respite care for chronically sick children, particularly teenagers, before its closure in 1994.
The need for such a hospital was the result of the industrial revolution. The rise of industry in Glasgow had led to several cases of children developing tuberculosis and rickets within the city. As a result, there was a rise in welfare services in Glasgow which ultimately led to the proposal for a home hospital in Aberfoyle. This would help the children due to the clean air of the countryside.
Penelope Ker played a key role in children’s welfare in Glasgow. She was involved with the settlement movement, and a key figure in the establishing the hospital at Aberfoyle.
The Perth County Council Valuation Rolls confirm that the original site of Children’s Home Hospital was Craiguchty Villa No. 5, Aberfoyle, and rented by Penelope Ker. Over the next ten years, the home would gradually expand to take in Craiguchty Villas Nos. 4-6 with around 20 children and staff accommodated in the buildings.
Issues over rent and the suitability of the Craigurchty Villas resulted in the hospital moving to Strathblane. The need for a bigger hospital was stated in an article in the Stirling Journal, stating that ‘the home had to be enlarged, and for some years had received 21 cases at a time.’
The new Children’s Home Hospital was opened on June 20th 1913 by the Marchioness of Tullibardine could accommodate 24 people and an open air school.
In 1927, plans were drawn up for an additional wing to the hospital. This new wing was to provide treatment for children suffering from acute rheumatism. These plans can be found in Stirling County Council collection and show that proposals were made for a new war for six boys and six girls. Additionally, there was to be more space for staff and a Gardner’s cottage.
The plans were approved and the new wing was opened by Lady Helen Graham, President of the Young Women’s Christian Association and daughter of 5th Duke of Montrose, on Saturday 6th October 1928.
Following the creation of the National Health Service in 1948, the hospital was managed in tandem with the much larger Royal Hospital for Sick Children.
In 1994, the Children’s Home Hospital in Strathblane closed with the buildings demolished and replaced by a housing estate. Over the course of its 90 year history, the hospital played a vital role in helping children from the surrounding area.
For more information on the Children’s Home Hospital, please read this excellent article by Alison Dryden of the Strathblane Heritage Society: http://www.strathblanefield.org.uk/history/ChildrensHome.html
The records of the Strathblane Children’s Home Hospital are held by the NHS Archives at Glasgow University: http://www.archives.gla.ac.uk/gghb/collects/hb12.html