Braemoriston Auxiliary Hospital

Braemoriston Auxiliary Hospital

Braemoriston House in Elgin was built by Captain, later Admiral, Archibald Duff of Drummuir in 1819 and significantly extended in 1837. In late 1915 it was offered for use as a hospital by Lady Francis and Mr A Gordon Duff and was ready to serve by February 1916.

The Courant of February 11th 1916 reported:

For the purpose of a convalescent home the situation of the house is ideal. It stands on the steep bank of the Lossie overlooking the Public Park, where the cattle show is held. It is the furthest of the Bishopmill houses and stands absolutely apart in about four and a half acres of ground, which borders on the river.

We know from that report that there were six beds in the Hopeman Ward, named "in recognition of the assistance given by the detachment of that village", an Elgin Ward also with six beds and a Grantown Ward with seven beds. In addition there were some smaller rooms, the total provision being in the region of 25 patients.

Interestingly, the Courant continued:

While we cannot exactly say that we hope soon to see the hospital well filled, it is at least exceedingly satisfactory for us to know that we have in Braemoriston comfortable accommodation and a most beautiful situation in which to nurse back to health and strength those of our soldiers who have had the misfortune to be removed from the active work of the army.

The hospital was furnished and fitted out through significant public support, the most important contribution being received "from Mr George Anderson, Grantown on Spey, consisting of 19 beds and three spring mattresses".

Who were the first staff? The Northern Scot identifies the Medical Officer as Dr Watson, the Matron as Mrs Cruickshank, the Quartermaster as Miss Murray and that Braemoriston would start with two resident and two non resident nurses.

As with so many wartime hospitals Braemoriston and its patients enjoyed significant community support. Photographs of staff and patients appeared in the pages of the Northern Scot Christmas numbers, while both the Northern Scot and the Elgin Courant regularly reported on its activities.

Braemoriston nurses
Braemoriston nurses. Image courtesy of 'The Northern Scot' from the 1916 Christmas number
Patients from Braemoriston hospital.
Patients from Braemoriston hospital on a day out. Image courtesy of 'The Northern Scot' from the 1916 Christmas number
Patients from Braemoriston hospital
At the beach - patients from Braemoriston hospital taking the sea air.Image courtesy of 'The Northern Scot' from the 1916 Christmas number