Dunfermline VAD Hospital

Dunfermline VAD Hospital

During the 1914 – 18 war, part of the Dunfermline Combination Home and Hospital was occupied as an Auxiliary Military Hospital. It opened on 9th November 1914 with the top flat of the Poorhouse fitted with fifty beds to be occupied by wounded soldiers. This temporary hospital was equipped by the Red Cross Society. Voluntary contributions were allocated towards the maintenance of the institution including £200 from Mrs Carnegie. During the war the Education Committee of the Dunfermline Co-operative Society was authorised by the members to devote a portion of their funds towards the entertainment of the wounded soldiers in the Dunfermline Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospital. Patients also received donations of gifts. The hospital admitted over 2,000 men during the war. It had two medical officers and a core staff of nine including the matron Miss Elder, RRC, Mrs Constance Rupert-Jones, the quartermaster, and Mrs Lizzie Addison, the cook.

The Poorhouse had been built in 1843 on the Town Green near the new prison and was capable of accommodating 130 inmates with the Governor and his family. It consisted of a large hall for meals and worship and two apartments for "lunatics". By 1869, it housed 148 inmates. In 1849 a building then known as "McLean’s Hospital" was erected to the north east of the Poorhouse. The intention of this hospital was to house "maidservants and other persons infected with fever or any contagious disease", but in reality it served patients from the neighbouring Poorhouse. In 1893 it was passed to the Combination Poorhouse and it was decided that two wards on the upper floor would accommodate "respectable married couples". The remaining rooms were used for the old and infirm inmates of the Poorhouse and adapted as convalescent wards.

Staff and patients at the Dunfermline VAD Hospital.