Beginnings of Bannockburn Hospital

Bannockburn Hospital was designed by a Stirling firm of architects names McLuckie and Walker (responsible for many buildings in and around Stirling in 19th Century – see online exhibition for more of their work).

The initial provision was for two wards comprising ten beds. A large administration block, centrally located, was included in the plan with the possible future conversion to inpatient accommodation in mind.

It was intended that the hospital should provide treatment and care for patients suffering from three types of infectious disease: namely enteric fever, scarlet fever and diphtheria.

From the beginning Bannockburn Hospital had been served by a horse-drawn ambulance wagon. The ambulance wagon covered a very large area from Bridge of Allan to beyond Queenzieburn in the West.

During the removal of patients by horse-drawn vehicle the rate of travel was so slow that the double journey, say to Buchlyvie (34 miles), took six and half hours, as the horses had to be fed and rested before beginning the return journey. Such journeys were no less troublesome to patients who found travelling “rough and jolting to a degree causing great discomfort”.

It was to be another twenty-six years before the horse-drawn ambulance was replaced with a motor ambulance. The County Medical Report of 1920 recorded that the “Fiat” motor ambulance was an immense improvement on the old horse ambulance.

Between 1905-1906, the hospital was extended with the addition of a Convalescent Home, together with further wards and a Psychiatric Assessment Unit in the 1930s. By the early years of the 21st Century, the hospital was used for long-term care of the elderly, including those with mental-health problems, palliative care and stroke rehabilitation. With the reconfiguration of healthcare in the Stirling area following the opening of the Forth Valley Royal Hospital, it was announced that services would move to Stirling Royal Infirmary from 2010. Demolition began in 2012 and in 2019 the site opened as a Crematorium.

Article by Robert Bruce, Corporate Records Coordinator.

Please contact the Corporate Records management team if you have any information relating to Bannockburn Hospital or to any other NHS Forth Valley sites. We would like to add more to our NHS Archive held at the University of Stirling.