It’s not quite what it was when built in the early 19th century . Ruberslaw House sitting above the Nisa car park is a Georgian building with not a little character about it . It was built as the Clydesdale Bank and included the bank agent’s house . The southern aspect would have made it a bright airy building and there were extensive outbuildings to the rear including stables and coach house . The garden grounds originally extended south to
Street and this
part was eventually to become Alexander’s Bus Depot and then Penny Lane . The
main entrance was off what was at
one time called Pudding Lane . This delightful cognomen
succumbed to the inevitable change
of mediocrity becoming , surprise, surprise Bank Street !
Not many people realise that Ruberslaw became an auxiliary hospital during the First World War . It was the policy to establish central hospitals in strategic spots to allow the sick and wounded to be treated . It transpired , however that these were insufficient to deal with the growing number of patients and so a demand arose for auxiliary hospitals throughout the country . Perthshire on account of its central location had some thirteen of these hospitals which apart from Ruberslaw included Ochtertyre and
. The new hospital was run by an organisation called
The Crieff Voluntary Aid Detachment working under the Red Cross . The
house had been empty at the time
so a transition to a hospital proved comparatively straight forward with
its rental being covered by an anonymous donor . Because of it size ,
Ruberslaw had some 26 beds plus a
sizeable administrative and
service set up . According to the account in Campbell’s “ Crieff in the Great War ” , furniture and other necessary items to make the place function
were gifted by the citizens of the town . The hospital was under the
supervision of Dr Burnett who was termed“ commandant ” as
medical officer and a Sister MacMillan , the trained nurse of the Detachment who acted as Matron.
It was a considerable effort that the running of the hospital was
undertaken by a team of 35 local persons . It was on this basis
that the Hospital opened for business on the 17th May 1915
and stayed open for some four years
finally closing in March 1919 . Campbell
tells us that in this period some 877
patients were treated for a
variety of ailments and not a single
death was recorded . Monzie Castle
Records show that in 1915 a Battalion of the Seaforths plus about a hundred men belonging to the Army Service Corps were located in Crieff undergoing military training and for that period a section of the Hospital was set aside to cater for any sick belonging to them .In this pre telly and radio era entertainment was provided with evening concerts featuring local talent as well as a fair sized billiard room suitably equipped . In the days of Spring and Summer the grounds of Ruberslaw afforded the opportunity for games such as croquet and clock golf .
When Ruberslaw closed as a Hospital, Dr Burnet was given a suitably inscribed silver salver . This I believe is still competed for in competition at Crieff Golf Club.
Ruberslaw was flatted and converted and despite the somewhat reduced area of garden ground is still a building of some distinction . To see what it was like shortly after construction look at Woods 1822 Map of Crieff available in digitised format through the National Library of Scotland :
I can recall a number of years ago a young guy purchased one of the ground floor flats and started on a series of alterations . One of these included increasing the size of the kitchen and dining area . He found out he taken on rather more than he had anticipated . It transpired the kitchen was in fact the old bank safe with a 12 inch thick cast iron core sandwiched between brick outer skins ! Not quite sure what the eventual outcome was I can “ safely” say !