Bangour Village Hospital

Scope and Content

Management 1859-1929; administration 1903-2004; patients (bound volumes) 1904-1982

Administrative / Biographical History

By the beginning of the twentieth century the problem of mental illness in Edinburgh had become acute, and the need for a new psychiatric hospital was pressing. Situated 14 miles from Edinburgh in hilly woodlands, Bangour, near Broxburn, was the ideal place for such a hospital. The hospital was to be modelled on the Alt-Scherbitz asylum near Leipzig in Germany, but the first buildings were constructed hurriedly and were very basic temporary structures. The first patients from the Royal Edinburgh Asylum were transferred to Bangour in 1904, and the hospital was officially opened on 3 October 1906.

In 1915 Bangour Village Hospital was taken over by the War Office as a military hospital. Its patients were transferred to asylums around the country. The numbers of staff and beds were increased substantially to cater for the influx of wounded soldiers who began to arrive in June of that year. By 1918 the hospital had reached a record capacity of 3000 patients, crammed into wards, huts and specially-erected marquees. After the war, in commemoration of the vital role played by the hospital, Bangour Village Church was erected and opened in 1929.

Bangour re-opened as a psychiatric hospital in 1922. However in 1939 the hospital again became the Edinburgh War Hospital, with an additional annexe, which became Bangour General Hospital.

In the 1950s Bangour Village Hospital began to take patients from West Lothian as well as Edinburgh, finally ceasing to take Edinburgh patients in 1974. As a result of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act of 1947 and the creation of South East Regional Hospital Board Scotland, in 1948 Bangour Village Hospital came under the management of West Lothian Hospitals Board of Management. The revised Act of 1972 saw hospital administration simplified and so after 1974 the hospital became part of West Lothian District of Lothian Health Board, but the publication in 1983 of the Griffiths Report forced further change and the district became West Lothian Unit in its own right. Since further reorganisation in 1994 it has been managed by West Lothian NHS Trust and, from 1999, West Lothian Healthcare NHS Trust. The hospital closed in 2004.


Chronological within record class

Access Information

Public access to these records is governed by the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the latest version of the Scottish Government Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland). Whilst some records may be accessed freely by researchers, the aforementioned legislation and guidelines mean that records with sensitive information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time.

Where records are about named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Records about individuals below 18 years (living or deceased) or adults not proven to be deceased will be open 100 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Further information on legislation and guidelines covering medical records can be found on the LHSA webpage (

LHSA can support the use of records closed to public access for legitimate clinical, historical and genealogical research purposes. Please contact the LHSA Archivist for more details regarding procedures on how you can apply for permission to view closed records. Telephone us on: 0131 650 3392 or email us at

Acquisition Information

St John's Hospital, Howden, February, May and October 2002, November 2003, April and July 2004


Compiled by Mike Barfoot and Jenny McDermott using existing handlists

Other Finding Aids

Manual item-level descriptive list available

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is subject to closure periods and physical condition

Custodial History

Records held within the National Health Service prior to transfer


No further accessions are expected

Related Material

Bangour General Hospital (LHB40)


Hendrie, W.F. and MacLeod, D.A.D. The Bangour story: a history of Bangour Village and General Hospitals Edinburgh: Mercat Press, 1992