MHG25641 - Site of Infectious Diseases Hospital, Fort William

Summary

An isolation hospital built originally in 1894 and located in the grounds of the former Belford Hospital.

Type and Period (4)

  • ISOLATION BLOCK (Built, 19th Century to 20th Century - 1894 AD to 1938 AD?)
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASES HOSPITAL (In use, 19th Century to 20th Century - 1894 AD to 1938 AD?)
  • FIRST AID POST (Second World War - 1939 AD to 1945 AD)
  • MATERNITY BLOCK (In use, 20th Century - 1946 AD? to 1959 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

The exact location of this isolation hospital is unclear. Information about the site and various local recollections were submitted to the HER by Martin Briscoe, a local researcher, in December 2008. The hospital was known locally as the "Fever Hospital" and was apparently used to isolate cases of Scarlatina from the main Belford hospital.
Some locals recall that it lay behind the original Belford Hospital on the other side of the railway. A smaller building alongside the distillery buildings could conceivably be the Infectious Diseases Hospital, but may be too large. Recollections of another local would place the hospital further north, approximately at the northern corner of the shinty pitch on An Aird. He recalls it as a two roomed brick-built construction. In the late seventies it was apparently long disused and the town dump had encroached on it. At the time it was the shelter of a local homeless man and his one-eyed dog.
However, in 1912, in a Highlands and Islands Medical Service Committee Report, the Town provost refers to the Isolation Hospital being in the grounds of the Belford. <1>

The confusion in <1> appears to result from the fact that there were two infectious diseases/isolation hospitals, one in the grounds of the Belford Hospital (this record) and one somewhere on The Aird (now renumbered as MHG52961). <2><3>

A wooden isolation block was built in the grounds of the Belford Hospital in 1894 but was burned down. It was replaced in 1901 by a low red building, financed by a tripartite agreement between Lochaber District Council, Fort William Burgh Council and the Belford Trustees. The building was substandard by the 1930s and was used as a first aid post in World War 2. It was then converted to a maternity ward but had problems with dry rot in the early 1950s. <4>

Following a BBC news article prompted by this HER entry, Martin Briscoe was contacted by the Lochaber News for further information and he provided them with further notes on his research. <5><6>

Sources/Archives (6)

Map

Location

Grid reference NN 11003 74318 (point) (Estimated from sources)
Map sheet NN17SW
Civil Parish KILMALLIE
Geographical Area LOCHABER

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (1)

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