Historic Falkikrk hospital is reduced to rubble

The main part of the hospital has been demolished
The main part of the hospital has been demolished
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The Falkirk building which for generations of Bairns symbolised Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary has gone.

After months of ground clearing works at the Majors Loan site, the iconic two-storey structure, paid for by public subscription and opened by Royalty 80 years ago has now been bulldozed.

Only “bits and pieces” of the landmark have been saved from the skip to be included as part of a planned memorial park.

Falkirk Local History Society had lobbied Historic Scotland to give it protective ‘list’ status and First Citizen Provost Pat Reid supported the campaign.

But six months ago they were stunned when the government-paid quango effectively announced its death knell by dismissing their claims it deserved to be saved and left supporters with no time to produce an alternative plan.

Elizabeth McCrone, Historic Scotland’s head of listing, claimed: “I appreciate the deep feeling the society and others have for the main building on the Royal Infirmary site and have written to Falkirk Council and NHS Forth Valley to relay the huge community interest in retaining the building.

“But, unfortunately, it does not meet the strict criteria required for it to be listed as it is not of sufficient architectural significance when compared to hospital buildings from the same period across Scotland.”

This week Ian Scott of Falkirk Local History Society admitted: “It is very sad that such an important part of Falkirk’s history has been reduced to rubble and allowed to disappear almost overnight. What remains from the carnage amounts to little more than bits and bobs, a fact which leaves me and many others very disappointed.

“Watching the buildings which meant so much to so many people in the community come tumbling down has been a bitter experience and whatever way you look at it, this is certainly not the result we wanted.

“Even if Historic Scotland had agreed to give them its lowest Class C listing would have bought us more time to come up with a ‘Plan B’ and save more which would have been better than nothing.

“We are in no way critical of NHS Forth Valley’s role in this. We appreciate they were faced with financial pressures and understand have invested a substantial amount of money on the steps they have taken, but in our view Historic Scotland have made a very poor decision by labelling Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary as having no historical interest.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Forth Valley said: “It is our intention to retain the railings, gates and pillars at the Majors Loan entrance to the former infirmary together with the garden area and burn as a small park.

“We have also identified a number of original features including the clock which we plan to preserve for potential use in future developments.

“Castings are already being made wherever possible on decorative features which could disintegrate if they were dismantled.

“The casts will be retained in a safe location on site or by the supplier of the moulded piece.

“All items and where they are stored will be catalogued by NHS Forth Valley.”