The Stunning Lennox Castle Hospital

Lennox Castle Hospital
Lennox Castle Hospital

The Scotsman

Sergey Rubtsov, who resides in Tula and devotes his LiveJournal blog to his hometown’s abandoned locations, is the owner of these fantastic photographs. He is primarily interested in historic manors and churches.

Sergey publishes photographs taken during his travels and supplements them with narratives and histories about the places he visits. You can learn more about his travels and photographs by visiting his LiveJournal or Instagram accounts.

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(C) Ben Allison

John Lennox Kincaid and his family were the first owners. The family mansion was converted into a military hospital during World War I.

The Glasgow City Council recognized the need for a new psychiatric hospital in 1925, and within a short period of time, a plan was developed to build the country’s largest and best-equipped institution of its kind.

Glasgow Corporation purchased Lennox Castle two years later for this purpose. The castle and the surrounding 494 hectares (1,222 acres) of land cost £25,000. The total cost of converting the former castle into a hospital, however, was £1.25 million.

Lennox Castle Certified Institution for Mental Defects opened its doors officially in 1936. It was considered a thoroughly modern hospital at the time, with a capacity of 1,200 patients.

Twenty dormitories were available for male and female patients. Each dormitory could house approximately 60 people. Men’s and women’s sections were separated by canteens, kitchens, and workshops.

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(C) Ben Allison

Additionally, there was an administration building, forty houses for married staff, and a visitors’ tearoom. The castle was used to house patients until the modern hospital was completed, at which point it was converted into a nursing home.

Along with these facilities, there was a central auditorium – a large hall equipped with a stage and film screening equipment. When no performances or films were scheduled, the hall could also be used as a place of rest.

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(C) Ben Allison

The hospital was requisitioned for the war effort upon the outbreak of World War II, and some long-term but temporary arrangements were made. Regular patients were relocated from the hospital to huts on the grounds, a situation that lasted approximately 40 years.

Additionally, Lennox Castle Hospital converted approximately six wards into maternity wards. These six wards have a combined capacity of approximately 60 patients. This arrangement was temporary and lasted from 1942 to 1964.

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(C) Ben Allison

There was an ongoing shortage of patient beds. Unmarried mothers, wayward teenagers, and those with Down’s Syndrome were among those admitted.

Discussions about expanding the hospital began in 1950. A strategy was devised but never implemented. Rather than that, the maternity ward was relocated to a brand new medical facility.

As a result, construction on the new Queen Mother’s Maternity Hospital in Yorkhill began in 1960. By 1964, the Lennox Castle Hospital had reverted to its former status as a psychiatric hospital.

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(C) Ben Allison

The hospital reached its peak in the 1970s, when it housed approximately 1,700 patients. By that time, conditions had deteriorated due to a lack of staff and funding to care for such a large number of patients.

In the 1980s, life at the hospital took a dramatic turn for the worse. Alasdair Sim, the hospital’s director at the time, has stated on record that he had never worked in a “worse pit” and was “sick to his stomach” about the plight of these poor people.

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(C) Ben Allison

In 1989, the British Medical Journal published a study revealing that a quarter of Lennox Castle Hospital’s patients were underweight and malnourished. It is now known that if there were any infractions in the hospital, offenders would be punished by having their diet restricted to bread and milk only.

Patients were frequently subjected to additional severe punishments for misbehavior. For instance, one former patient recalled being forced to run barefoot through the castle, where he was repeatedly struck by baseball bats, for failing to address a staff member as “sir.” Those who attempted to flee were apprehended and placed in isolation for six weeks.

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(C) Ben Allison

Additionally, patients suffered from a lack of appropriate care within the hospital, with vulnerable patients frequently overlooked as a result of staffing shortages and overcrowding. Frequently, difficult patients were simply given medication to keep them calm, despite the fact that only about 10% of patients required antipsychotic medication.

While some visitors to the hospital expressed satisfaction with the staff’s efforts under difficult circumstances, there were horror stories of injuries and even deaths caused by cruel treatment. Among them were a man who suffered a heart attack while being physically restrained and another who was severely injured when a nurse hurled a scalding cup of tea at him.

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(C) Ben Allison

The castle was added to Scotland’s Buildings At Risk Register in 1992. It had been decommissioned by hospital personnel in 1987.

Plans to close the hospital began to take shape in the 1990s. Patients were either transferred to more modern psychiatric hospitals or reintegrated into their communities.

Finally, Lennox Castle Hospital was closed in 2002, and by 2004, all but the original building had been demolished.

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(C) Ben Allison

Since then, Lennox Castle has remained vacant and has gradually deteriorated. Despite numerous proposals to renovate the castle and construct new housing, none were implemented.

Regrettably, the building was further damaged in May 2008 by a fire. The dilapidated structure required immediate attention, but planning permissions were repeatedly extended without any work being completed.

While the castle has been abandoned and forgotten, a section of its grounds has been given new life. Celtic Football Club was granted permission in 2006 to design and construct their own training facility on the grounds of Lennox Castle. The following summer, construction was completed.

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(C) Ben Allison

A lot of people have moved out of Lennox Castle over the years, but the castle itself hasn’t changed much. Even though many plans were made to improve the castle and build new homes, none of them were done.

It was even worse when a fire broke out in May 2008. The dilapidated building needed to be fixed quickly, but planning permissions kept being extended with no work done.

There may have been no one living in the castle, but a part of its grounds has been given a new lease of life. It was in 2006 that Celtic Football Club was given permission to build their own training complex on the grounds of Lennox Castle. The next summer, the building was finished.

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(C) Ben Allison

In 2013, a website called Lennox Castle Stories was set up to collect art and stories from people who used to work or go to school there. The goal is to make sure that Scotland doesn’t forget about this dark part of its history, even as the building itself is slowly being taken over by time and the elements.

They were taken by Ben Allison, and they are beautiful. Big thanks to him for giving us these. Ben enjoys going on trips and taking pictures with his camera. Visit his Flickr page to learn more.

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(C) Ben Allison
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(C) Ben Allison
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(C) Ben Allison

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