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Royal Deeside :
The Glen O' Dee Hospital at Banchory


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The Glen o' Dee has a special place in the memories of the residents of Banchory and Royal Deeside. Many had either spent time there or visited relatives there. A beautiful building in fine surrounds, it has sadly been unused for some years and many were worried about its future.

The article below closely based on one written by Frank Urquhart and published in The Scotsman on Sat 4th October 2003 suggests that the old hospital is about to enter a new phase.

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Glen O' Dee Hospital The former Glen O' Dee hospital at Banchory

One of Scotland's threatened architectural gems - a timber-built Edwardian sanatorium in Deeside - has been saved in a major restoration deal announced yesterday by Grampian Primary Care Trust. The former Glen 0' Dee tuberculosis (TB) sanatorium near Banchory was one of the six at-risk Scottish buildings which were featured in the recent BBC Restoration series. The Bavarian-style sanatorium, where the author Somerset Maugham was once a patient, has lain empty and has been steadily deteriorating since it was finally declared surplus to NHS requirements four years ago. Fears that the building would have to be demolished intensified after Glen 0' Dee failed to reach the final of the Restoration series.

But yesterday Grampian Primary Care Trust revealed that the building is to be restored following its sale to a Maryculter-based development company. The company is planning to turn it into 12 town houses. Gerry Donald, head of physical planning with the NHS trust, said the agreement would ensure that a "unique" Category A listed building would be saved, allowing all the proceeds from the sale to be reinvested locally in NHS Grampian. He said: "[The Glen o’ Dee] has been empty of patients since 1990 but was used for other health purposes until 1995. It has been vacant since then and is now on the buildings at risk register, and not in good condition. A lot of work that needs to be done in actually getting the building back to its former glory."

Glen 0' Dee Hospital has had a varied existence since it opened on Christmas Eve, 1900, as the "Nordrach-on-Dee" private tuberculosis sanatorium - named by its founder Dr David Lawson in honour of the sanatorium at Nordrach in the Black Forest, Germany, where the open-air treatment of tuberculosis had been pioneered. The sanatorium, built at a time when TB was the biggest killer in Britain, soon gained a reputation for original and successful new treatments and was extended to allow the hospital to increase its patient intake from 36 to 75. Glen 0' Dee was one of the first sanatoriums to use X-rays in the diagnosis and treatment of TB and had its own laboratory and X-ray department. Following the First World War, demand dropped as TB began to be successfully treated, and the sanatorium finally closed its doors in 1928. Six years later, in 1934, the building was re-opened as the "Glen 0 Dee" luxury hotel.

A contemporary report states "The Royal Deeside Hotel is in every way a perfect holiday centre. For sportsmen too, who are attracted by moor or river, it is an ideal centre. Within the grounds are secluded walks, a mashie course, putting greens and facilities for lawn games; tennis, bowls and all facilities for shooting and fishing. The winter climate is unusually mild."

During the Second World War the hotel was requisitioned by the army and used to billet troops. After the war the building was purchased by the Scottish Red Cross Society and refitted as a sanatorium for ex-servicemen and women suffering from TB. It was transferred in 1955 to the NHS, becoming a convalescent hospital. Glen 0' Dee briefly returned to its role as a sanatorium during the Aberdeen typhoid epidemic in 1964, but finally closed as a hospital 13 years ago.


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Introduction A History of Royal Deeside The Deeside Railway The Old Military Road Old Kirkyardst
Queen Victoria and Royal Deeside John Brown, Loyal Servant Francis Farquharson Lord Byron, poet Alexander Gordon
Macbeth and Braemar Braemar Gathering and Highland Games History of Braemar Clan Farquharson Bridges of Ballater
19th Century Ballater History of Dinnet area Aboyne History Aboyne Wartime Poetry Aboyne Great War Records
History of Dinnet History of Tarland Scott Skinner, the Strathspey King Glen O' Dee Hospital Brunel's Bridge
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