Baldovan Institution was founded in 1852, mainly through the
benevolence of Sir John and Lady Jane Ogilvy and from voluntary contributions and fees.
It was established on the north bank of the Dighty as an orphanage, hospital and place
of education and training for ‘imbecile’ children, accomodating 30 children. As such it
was the first hospital of its kind in Scotland and the second in Britain. The Orphanage
opened on 30th November 1854 and the Asylum opened on 6th January 1855.
In 1856 its name was changed to Baldovan Asylum and it expanded its operations after
it received its licence under the Lunacy Act of 1858, which legalised its function as a
home for children. It was found that contact with 'imbeciles' had a detrimental effect upon
the orphans and so in 1867 the Orphanage moved to other premises and the Baldovan Asylum
concentrated its efforts on the care and education of mentally handicapped children. By 1879
the number of children accommodated at the Asylum had increased to 70 and the site where the
Administrative block now stands was acquired. By 1904 the Main Building wards were built and
occupied by 160 children.
The Mental Deficiency (Scotland) Act was passed in 1913, providing state supervision of mental
defectives, which led to an increased demand for accommodation at Institutions like Baldovan.
Between 1904 and 1932 further developments included another ward, staff residency, school facilities,
a large Recreation Hall as well as occupational therapy and training in domestic, farm and garden work.
In 1925 the Baldovan Institution Confirmation Act sanctioned the trustees to form an Incorporation
with the counties of Aberdeen, Forfar (Angus), Kincardine and Perth to undertake the management of the
hospital with provision for children of all four counties.
In 1948 the running of the Hospital was transferred to the National Health Service. Subsequent
developments included a change of name in 1959 to Strathmartine Hospital and major building works in
1963-1965, which saw the demolition of the original premises and the creation of new and improved facilities,
including three new single storey wards and a swimming pool. Two new 25 bed wards were opened in 1980.
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