Northesk Villa 1939

Between The Wars

The war to end all wars having finished, the Hospital resumed normal business and as usual the question of accommodation was to the fore. Some alarm was expressed when the admission rate, which had declined during the war years for no very clear reason, showed a marked upswing in the years following. One issue which was now squarely faced for the first time was the unsuitable placement of a large number of  patients with learning disabilities in the Asylum, a problem which was not solved for many years.

At one stage, (1925), it was proposed that the Mansion House and Estate of Charleton might provide accomodation for those patients, but the proposal came to nothing. The issue was referred to again in the Commissioner's report of 1930, where he stated that the education and care of patients with learning disabilities "cannot be done in an Instutition which is essentially a hospital". Again, a few years later, the numbers resident were up to 850 and the Annual Report commented the overcrowding in the Asylum".

An Aging Population

Another factor contributing to the rising numbers, very familiar to us now, was the "accumulation of aged persons" suffering from dementia. To solve this problem, it was finally decided in 1936, to build a new block behind Carnegie House to accommodate elderly patients. Initially this new block, in the absence of a suitable name, was referred to by the rather undignified title of "Pre-Senile Buildings", but it was finally named Angus House on its completion in 1939

 Angus House

Pressure on patient accommodation was not the only problem however. The increase in staff numbers, accelerated by the return of men from the forces, necessitated the conversion of the attic floor of Carnegie House in 1921 to staff quarters, and the building of more houses for married staff. These solutions still proved to be inadequate, and in 1931, the decision was taken to build a Nurses Home to accommodate 100 nurses. It was opened in 1935 by Sir Arthur Rose, Chairman of the General Board of Control. "A friend of the hospital very generously gifted a wireless installation to the Home, and loud speakers were installed in the recreation room and all the sitting rooms".