For everyone with an interest in the town, people and parish of Shotts


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Chosen for its splendid isolation, Hartwood Estate was transformed into the Lanark County Asylum in 1895. The hospital started off with just seventy patients, enforcing a strict ‘no visitors’ policy because of its seclusion and the large numbers of female staff. Treatment there, involving music and drama therapy was considered enlightened for the times.


Despite this, employees worked a long and arduous fourteen hour day and in 1919 there were attempts by some of them to get the National Asylum Workers’ Union recognised by management. By the 1950s Hartwood accommodated almost 2,000 patients and has survived until the present day, albeit in more modern buildings than those pictured here. Today the central block with the ominous twin towers is intact (although boarded up) while many of the surrounding buildings have been demolished.

Main Building

Hartwood Sanatorium, pictured here In the 1930s, was known as Hartwoodhill Hospital. Other hospitals In Shotts included the small sanatorium, in the south of the parish (built as the Edinburgh Infectious Disease Hospital) and Cleland Hospital, originally Omoa Poor House. When populations were smaller, funds for the parish poor roll were raised by congregation.


The shortfall was unlikely to be much; in the I790s, for instance, there were only thirteen claimants. By the 1900s unsophisticated social services were provided by Shotts Parish Committee, which offered Poor Law Relief either ‘outdoors or indoors’ (which actually meant inside a poor house). Omoa Poorhouse was built at the turn of the century complete with piggery and stick factory and survived until the more liberal thirties when it was converted into a hospital.


The Lodge. Hartwood Road – This entrance to the older section of the asylum has changed dramatically with the lodge demolished and the inner pillars of the gateway removed to allow car access. Hartwood’s Timetables and Special Regulations of 1899 had some arcane stipulations regarding bathing and dining, albeit with the dignity and health of the patients in mind. Baths, enjoyed at set times on alternate weeks had to he given at a temperature between ninety and ninety-seven degrees Fahrenheit with all bathing suspended if the thermometer was broken. The water was changed for each patient ‘if practicable’ and there was never to be more than one person in the bath at any one time. On absolutely ‘no pretext whatever’ was a patient’s head to be forced under the water. At dinner time when male and female patients sat ‘promiscuously’ (presumably side by side) attendants were to report any irregularities between persons of the opposite sex.

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