Bangour Village Hospital

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Welcome to Bangour Village Hospital - - 1735271.jpg

Bangour Village Hospital was a psychiatric hospital located west of Dechmont in West Lothian, Scotland. It was officially opened in October 1906 (under the name Edinburgh District Asylum), over two years after the first patients were admitted in June 1904. In 1918 Bangour General Hospital was created in the grounds, but the hospital began winding down in 1989 with services being transferred to the newly built St. John's Hospital in the Howden area of Livingston,_West_Lothian. The final ward at Bangour eventually closed in 2004.


The hospital was modelled on the example of the Alt-Scherbitz asylum of the 1870s, at Schkeuditz, Germany, and represents one of the first village-plan psychiatric hospitals in Scotland.[1] The Bangour institution comprised individual villas which would house approximately 30 patients each. The village also incorporated its own railway connection, a farm, bakery, workshops, recreation hall, school, shop, library and, latterly, a multi-denominational church.

The hospital was requisitioned by the War Office during both wars when it became the "Edinburgh War Hospital" and "The Scottish Emergency Medical Hospital", reverting to a psychiatric hospital between the wars and after 1945.

The number of patients rose to over 3,000 in 1918. Temporary marquees and prefabricated huts were erected to cope with the demand for bed space, for both patients and staff. This led to the creation of Bangour General Hospital in the surrounding grounds, which was to become a world leader in many medical fields, in particular its esteemed burns and plastic surgery unit which was established in 1940.[citation needed] It also had a 1st class Maternity Unit serving the whole of the county.

In 1989, St John's Hospital opened in nearby Livingston, and services were transferred from Bangour General Hospital, which closed in the early 1990s.[2] The Village Hospital also started to wind down after the opening of St Johns, with the last remaining ward closing in 2004.

The buildings[edit]

The hospital site comprises numerous buildings and structures, including 13 category A listed buildings. An architectural competition held in 1898 was won by Hippolyte Blanc. The villas are domestic in character, while the nurse's home is more institutional. The villas were set within landscaped grounds, and are built in a 17th-century Scottish Renaissance style, with numerous individual variations. At the centre of the site is an Edwardian Baroque hall, and a Romanesque style church, which was designed by H. O. Tarbolton and built 1924-1930.[1]

Present use[edit]

The closed hospital was used as a filming location for the 2005 film The Jacket, starring Keira Knightley and Adrian Brody.[3]

In 2004, an outline planning application was submitted by Persimmon Homes, who are seeking to convert the site into a residential development. The proposals include retention of the listed buildings, which will be converted to apartments, and new detached homes, for a total of 500 units. As of March 2008, the application is yet to be determined by West Lothian Council.[4] In August 2008 though, Persimmon Homes announced they were not going continue with developing the site, blaming the downturn in the economy.

During September 2009, the hospital grounds were used as the site for "Exercise Green Gate", a counter-terrorist exercise run by the Scottish Government to test de-contamination procedures in the event of a nuclear, chemical or biological incident. This involved 250 volunteer "casualties" and 400 emergency staff.[5] The site is now also popular with Urban Explorers people who enjoy exploring old and abandoned buildings, taking pictures to document their existence before they disappear due to either severe decay or demolition. The local health board however are not keen and as of 2015 have security patrolling the grounds to stop people entering the now dangerous and unstable buildings.


  1. ^ a b Historic Scotland. "Bangour Village Hospital Listed Building Report". Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  2. ^ "Bangour General Hospital". Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  3. ^ "The Jacket". Internet Movie Database. Archived from the original on 6 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-01. 
  4. ^ "Bangour Village Hospital, Dechmont. Case File". Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  5. ^ "Village hosts training exercise for treating radiation casualties". Edinburgh Evening News. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°55′25″N 3°33′00″W / 55.92361°N 3.55000°W / 55.92361; -3.55000