The following is a guest post about East Fortune Hospital by Scottish urban explorer, SirHiss
East Fortune is a village in East Lothian, Scotland located 2 miles (3 km) northwest of East Linton. It is roughly 30 minutes to the east of Edinburgh by car, just off the A1. The airfield located at East Fortune was built in 1915 in an effort to see off possible attacks from German Zeppelin airships and an RNAS airship hanger was located on the site. In 1919, a British airship leaving East Fortune became the first to cross the Atlantic when it landed in Mineola, New York. Part of this heritage remains, with the National Museum of Flight located at the airfield.
Following World War I, the decision was taken to convert several of the airfield buildings into the East Fortune Hospital. It opened in 1922, initially as a tuberculosis sanatorium where it served the south east region of Scotland. It remained as such until the outbreak of World War II. RAF East Fortune was brought back into service as a training ground at first before seeing increased action. Its access to the North Sea proved important. Patients from the hospital were transferred to Bangour Hospital in West Lothian and remained there throughout the war.
The hospital eventually reopened after World War II had come to an end and continued as a tuberculosis sanatorium. As treatments improved, however, cases of the disease decreased significantly and in 1956, it was decided to convert it into a hospital to treat the mentally ill. It served the south east of Scotland for many more years but, as before, improved treatments saw its population decrease as time progressed and the hospital was closed in 1997 with the remaining patients transferred to Roodlands Hospital in Haddington.
There are two things that strike the keen explorer upon arriving at East Fortune. The first is the ease of access to the hospital site. The perimeter is surrounded by a rusty, worn metal fence that can easily be manipulated or squeezed through where the bars are missing. There is also a small cul-de-sac of housing at the east side of the site and all that separates the two is a wooden fence that is no more than 4 foot high. For someone used to spending ages looking for a way into places this was most welcome and rather odd!
The second thing is the sheer number of asbestos warning signs that litter the site. I am used to seeing this signage but not to this extent so to all readers who wish to visit I would implore that you invest in an appropriate mask that will filter this out.
All photos: SirHiss (Instagram: @sirhissjunior)