The site of the former Killearn Hospital, previously the Killearn Emergency Medical Hospital, lies to the west of the A81, south west of Killearn, Stirling.
When the outbreak of World War II became imminent, the Government commissioned five hospitals to be built across the UK to help cope with casualties. Land was requisitioned to the east of the ruined Killearn House (1816), and a large number of Ministry of Works standard huts erected, based around a prefabricated framework of precast concrete with brick and fenestration infill. The hospital was completed in 1940.
During the war it was managed by both the local authority and the military, being required to deal with injured servicemen, sailors from convoys, and local emergencies, receiving casualties from the Clydebank Blitz of March 13 and 14, 1941. By the end of the war, it had 640 beds and neuro-surgical, orthopaedic and peripheral nerve injury specialist units. The complement is reported to have been reduced to 404 after the war.
In 1948 it joined the National Health Service under the Board of Management for Glasgow Western Hospitals, and developed a renown in the fields of orthopaedics and neurosurgery. Many car crash victims of the 1960s owed their lives to the special skills of the surgeons there.
The hospital's relatively isolated location, some 15 miles north west of Glasgow, meant it was inconvenient for everyone, especially the patients and their families, so much of the hospital's work and facilities were transferred to other units, much going to the Institute of Neurological Sciences at the Southern General Hospital, Govan, with Killearn finally being abandoned in 1972.
In 1979, a proposal to develop the site as a leisure complex failed to attract interest.
In 1997, a survey of the site reported a number of wooden chalet type buildings with verandahs, and some Motor Transport (MT) sheds, all deteriorating, and the entrance blocked with 'Keep Out' signs.
A brief visit in 2007 gave the impression that many of the buildings described in the 1997 report are gone, with only the more robust structures remaining, and still deteriorating. The privately owned site remains surrounded by 'Private Keep Out' signs, hence our single, distant, photograph. This also takes note of a warning published about the owner allegedly having his shotgun licence revoked after chasing off legitimate Hydro Electric workers accessing the land.
The site featured in the closing scenes of Taggart, Episode 8, Season 4,"Dead Giveaway", which first aired on Wednesday, September 7, 1988. Following a baffling series of apparently unconnected poisonings, the team finally identify the common link: jury members who sat on, and had been inspired by, the case of a poisoner some four years earlier. In an unrelated scheme, one of the poisoners was using the hospital buildings as an operating base to produce forged bronze statues, and had poisoned a workmate who wanted a cut after discovering the scam. Taggart and McVitie follow the suspects to the abandoned hospital in McVitie's new Ford Granada, and track then down to the kitchen, where they are 'cooking' the bronzes in acid baths to age them. The two police officers are unaware that the two poisoners have just murdered the third member of their group, and are 'cooking' his remains in one of the baths to dispose of the evidence. When McVitie accidentally gives their presence away, the killers run from the police, jumping into a Suzuki minivan, conveniently narrow enough smash through the hospital building's doors and speed along its corridors and walkways in an attempt to escape after Jardine arrives and blocks the road with his car. As the van careers through the corridors, it hits the electrical distribution room, causing a series of explosions throughout the building, then smashes blindly out of the building, crashing into the side of McVities's new Granada parked across the doorway. Taggart's back is to McVitie as he sympathises with his superior about the loss of his newly delivered car, hiding a broad grin across his face.
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