Rose Innes Hospital & Home
The end of Rose Innes as a hospital
In 1948 the Labour Government, elected three years previously, passed an Act which created the National Health Service, which would provide medical care free of charge at the point of delivery and took over institutions which had been run by local councils to provide health services for the uninsured poor.
Rose Innes Hospital was handed over by the Banff Lower Board to the Regional Hospital Board, much against the wishes of the community of Aberchirder.
My first job after leaving school was as a Nursing Auxiliary. I was 15 years old and the year was 1950. I had always wanted to be a nurse but was too young to start my training, so worked in the Rose Innes [Hospital] in Aberchirder. I can’t remember how much I earned but as I lived in I kept all of my earnings. I had one day off a week and went home to the farm. I had two weeks holiday per year. The work was very hard looking after very ill people. Some were physically ill, some were mentally ill. It was very different from today’s nursing as most of the patients were in bed. They didn’t have a nice sitting room. There were no hoists or equipment to help lift the patients, no such thing as Health and Safety! I enjoyed the work very much and it certainly didn’t put me off starting my training [in psychiatry].
(Posted on https://wrvsmorayheritagememories 13 September 2012)
Not in photograph but also worked at Rose Innes: Evelyn Wilson (sister of Bruce Wilson, Public Assistance Officer), Sheena Seivwright (Arkland), Isobel King (Cornhill?)
(Thanks to Margaret Taylor and Greta Gray for providing names.)
L to r: Miss Cumming (Doctor’s sister), Mary Watson (Matron), Barbara Webster (Relief Cook), Jean Milne, Greta Milne.
(Thanks to Margaret Taylor and Greta Gray for providing names.)
The last ever baby born at the maternity ward at Rose Innes Hospital, Aberchirder, was likely to be Christmas Day baby Carol McKenzie, the 9 ½ lb daughter of Mr and Mrs J McKenzie, West Deuchries. Feelings were running high in the town against the decision by the Hospital Board to close the maternity ward, with all bookings now stopped. A petition from the Town Council had been presented to Banffshire MP W S Duthie, and was now in the hands of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
One local woman claimed that the new arrangements to move all cases to the recently opened maternity annexe at Chalmers Hospital in Banff were because the Chalmers facility had not been the success anticipated for it. “The next thing they’ll do is close our hospital altogether.”
(Banffshire Journal, 29 December 1953)
These patients were transferred in 1957 to the hospitals at Portsoy and Keith.
And just over four years later the paper reported that:
Rose Innes Hospital, Aberchirder, is to be closed down … with the patients currently there being moved to [Campbell Hospital] Portsoy. The changes are a result of NHS cost-cutting measures. The community in Aberchirder were shocked and angry at the proposed closure according to Provost A R Smith, who said the decision had come “like a bolt from the blue”.
(Banffshire Journal, 4 March 1958)
In 1964 Aberchirder celebrated the 200th anniversary of its foundation, and the Town Council treated Rose Innes residents to a party, with Provost John Taylor and Town Clerk Frank Anderson in attendance:
L to r: Mrs Flora McFarlane (Matron), Frank Anderson, Alex ‘Cuddy’ Hay (ex-Netherdale Smiddy), unknown lady, John Taylor, Sheena Sievewright (Assistant Matron).
Maisie Duncan provided this photograph, (left) taken of the local people present at the opening ceremony:
Standing (l to r): Mrs Edward Walker; Mrs John Taylor; Alex Watt; Frank Anderson (Town Clerk); John Taylor; Rev Edward Walker; Mrs Archie McBain; Bella Watt
Seated: Sheena Sievewright (Assistant Matron), Dr Archie McBain, Mrs Flora McFarlane (Matron).
In 1984 at the suggestion of officer-in-charge Barbara Shaw a small building in the grounds, formerly used as a decontamination centre for diseases patients coming to the hospital, was turned into a café. The building was officially opened on 17 October by Foggie’s new GP Robin Gatenby:
In 1975 Rose Innes Home was taken over by Grampian Regional Council’s Social Work Department.
1979 Retiral of Officer-in-Charge MrsSim:
Back (l to r): Mrs Sim, Mrs J Milne, Miss A Reid, Miss Bella Millar, Mr William Hay.
Front (l to r): Mr A Hay (blacksmith, Netherdale), Mrs L Morrison, Mr W Bowie, Miss M Learmont, Mrs Nan Hendry, Assistant Officer-in-Charge Miss J Thomson.
In 1987 a Rose Innes staff committee raised over £30,000 from donations and fundraising to provide a conservatory extension. The following year the new facility opened and a cheese and wine function was held to thank all those who had supported the campaign.
However the following year new care legislation was passed. The Care Commission considered the building did not meet new standards in terms of room size, disabled access and ensuite facilities. Aberdeenshire Council did not consider it feasible to modernise the building and Banff & Buchan Area Committee rubber stamped plans to close Rose Innes. Latterly there were only thirteen residents, of whom just two were local. Around fifty full- and part-time staff would be offered other jobs by the Council.
Middle (l to r): Evelyn Legge, Rosemary Smith, Elsie Henderson, Elaine Logan, Liz Ironside, Margaret Smith, Judith Lawson, Rex Dobinson, Margaret Durno, Elizabeth Davidson.
Front (l to r): Irene Sievewright, Irene Manson, Jackie Chalmers, Joyce Mackie, Darlene Nicol, Ruby Paterson.
(Thanks to Jackie Chalmers and Elsie Henderson for providing names.)
Later in the day staff held a dinner in the Bowling Club pavilion to mark the closure of the home.
Middle (l to r): Elaine Logan, Gladys Aitken, Ann Wolk, Elizabeth Davidson, Judith Lawson (Assistant Manager), Margaret Smith (Manager), Steven Taylor (Assist Manager), Elsie Henderson, Rex Dobinson, Morag Hepburn.
Front (l to r): Liz Tough, Rosemary Smith, Irene Manson, Anne Gallon, Jackie Chalmers, Joyce Mackie, Darlene Nicol, Ruby Paterson.
Assistant Manager Chrystal Beaton was unable to join them.
Shortly afterwards the Friends of Rose Innes group disbanded:
The last chapter in the long history of the Rose Innes home comes to a close today. The Friendship Group for the home met this afternoon to disband and donate their remaining funds of just under £5000 to local groups and charities. The group … has supported the home for many years. … The last of the residents of Rose Innes left a fortnight ago, many to the Durnhythe home in Portsoy.
(Turriff Advertiser, 19 April 2006)
After a further five years Banff architects Mantell Ritchie submitted a plan to convert the building into 12 flats but a year later it was back on the market. It was then bought by EDTW Properties (a company owned by Edward Wilkinson, founder of Banff’s Spotty Bag Shop). However finally, in late 2019, apartments in the converted building were advertised for rental.