East Fortune Hospital – An Abandoned Hospital In Scotland

East Fortune Hospital in Scotland abandoned

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.

Location: East Fortune, Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
Abandoned: 1997

A child's pram left behind at the abandoned East Fortune Hospital in Scotland

A child’s pram left behind in East Fortune Hospital.

The remains of an electric organ left behind at the abandoned East Fortune Hospital

The remains of an electric organ in the assembly hall.

Looking into a large room, possibly a gymnasium, at the abandoned East Fortune Hospital

Some of the items left abandoned in the gymnasium of the hospital.

A hallway in the abandoned East Fortune Hospital

An eerie hallway in the hospital.

Another hallway at the derelict building

Some of the ceiling tiles are coming loose as you can see in this picture.

Decaying rooms at the abandoned East Fortune Hospital

A stretcher and a bed frame are all that remains in this room.

Scary Mask in East Fortune Hospital

A Halloween mask left by a previous explorer.

Creepy Dolls Head

A doll’s head lies on broken glass.

All photos: SirHiss (Instagram: @sirhissjunior)

13 thoughts on “East Fortune Hospital – An Abandoned Hospital In Scotland”

  1. My younger brother died there in 1968. We used to visit him once a week ( usually on a Sunday as dad worked 6 days a week.

  2. I was a patient in East Fortune in 1961/62. I was treated by Dr. Rose Donaldson and would like to know what happened to her and a little of her background if at all possible.

  3. I was a patient in East Fortune, 1961/62. I would very much like to hear about what happened to Dr. Rose Donaldson who was a physician there and who treated me.

  4. Maria McCrea (nee Wilson)

    My dad was head chef there in the 70s and my mum worked first as a nurse on the children’s ward and then as a catering assistant in the canteen. We lived in one of the hospital houses (8 New Row) our neighbours had various jobs in the hospital (gardener, plumber etc).

  5. Can you give me any advice on the owners of this hospital as I understand it was sold for development never took place as I am looking to do a photo shoot within the grounds and do not wish to be moved on by security

    1. There is no security as such. Access is easier from the bottom of the hospital. I have been a few times as I stayed there when I was young as my father was the Senior Nursing Officer from 75/77.

  6. My Grandfather was there in the 70’s as he had a severe stroke and my Grandmother had too much as to looking after her disabled Brother. I was in my early teens and I remember the smells of meal times, the sound of the mower cutting the grass. The paths were uniform and correct, everything was in order. They had an excellent little Hospital there, its a shame it closed. They must have known about asbestos before the rest of us and considered it.
    Outside by the gate is a lonesome cottage, obviously built for and connected to the Hospital. My Son Chad had a Teacher in Juniors who said she was born there and her parents live there, this was about 2005.
    But we live down in Southampton, my Son was doing an assignment about his Holliday!
    How strange is that? I feel sorry for her Parents, they must be lonely there!
    It is a shame, some bloggers there said it was going to be houses soon, well!

  7. I was a apprentice chef in East Fortune Hospital 1980 to 1984.
    It was a great place to work & sadly missed.
    I visited there in 2020 and explored the kitchen where I worked. It was very interesting to see the old ovens still in place. I took lots of pictures.


    1. Hi, I’m writing a post about East Fortune Hospital on my blog. Can you tell me more information about your time there? Stories, general information, anything would be appreciated. Thank you.
      You can reply here, or contact me on: boldirebeka@yahoo.com

      1. Hi Rebekah, I wonder if you can help me. I discovered while doing family history that my grandmother had been a patient at East Fortune Hospital around the 1920s.I would love to know if its possible to find out if there is patients records archives.
        Thank you
        Barbara O’Brien

      2. The buildings that were to become the hospital were originally constructed as the accommodation camp for the airship station and airfield during the first world war. Although the building have been adapted they are mostly original and form the best collection of purpose ww1 barracks still surviving. The raf sold the camp to the local health authority in 1922.

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