Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

Phase II Block (Tower and Podium), Victoria Hospital, excluding all later additions and other buildings on the hospital site, except for the Phase I Block to the north (LB52536), Hayfield Road, KirkcaldyLB52537

Status: Designated

Documents

Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (https://portal.historicenvironment.scot/termsandconditions).

Summary

Category
B
Date Added
12/07/2022
Local Authority
Fife
Planning Authority
Fife
Burgh
Kirkcaldy
NGR
NT 27987 93075
Coordinates
327987, 693075

Description

The Phase II Block is an 11-storey, Modernist tower block supported on a two-storey rectangular-plan podium over basement. Erected between 1962 and 1967 under Chief Architect Eric D. Davidson, it was the primary building in the second phase of the hospital's post-war expansion scheme. Built in situ from reinforced concrete, the building is clad in pre-cast concrete panels faced in Mineralite. Located off Dunniker Road in Kirkcaldy and situated towards the centre of the hospital site, the wider hospital site is multi-phased with the majority of buildings dating from the mid 20th century to the early 21st century. The tower is now used solely for administrative functions, with no inpatient facilities (2022).

T-shaped in plan and symmetrically arranged, the tower has 32-bays to the south elevation and single-bays to the centre of the east and west elevations. The north elevation has 13-bays on either side of a central full-height return, which is blank except for a three-bay strip of glazed curtain walling to the east elevation. The base of the tower is recessed where it meets the podium. The main (west) elevation of the podium has glazed curtain walling with pre-cast concrete panels between the floors. The remaining podium elevations are largely clad in buff brick. The external panels of the tower and podium had a decorative paint coating added in 2007-8.

The podium has two square-plan atria to the north of the tower and a larger rectangular atrium to the south. The roofs are flat, with that of the tower having a solid parapet concealing the rooftop plant. The roof of the podium is bound by metal railings and various machinery and plant rooms are visible. These include a large raked structure (conference hall) and three curved ventilation drums, which are all clad in matching pre-cast concrete panels. Regularly spaced, the windows are aluminium-framed over black recessed panels.

The interior of the Phase II Block was seen in 2019. There have been incremental changes to the internal fabric, layout and function, including some subdivision of spaces.

Laid out in a courtyard style, the podium contains a network of interlinking linear corridors, generally with rooms on either side, or with views out to one of the atria. There are various access points, including a linking walkway from the Phase I Block to the north and via the Phase III Block to the south. A mezzanine level between the podium and the tower contains a conference hall.

The layout of the tower block is based on the double corridor/racetrack principle, with the rooms being arranged around services or service rooms at the centre of the plan. The lifts and main stair are contained in the central projecting wing to the north, with service stairs to the east and west ends of the main block. The interior fixtures and fittings are standard for a hospital building of this date, with a mix of mid to later 20th century fabric. Some windows retain original openers, while the main stair has been enclosed by a later timber glazed fire partition. The original ceiling and floor finishes have largely been replaced.

Legal exclusions

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing:

all later additions and other buildings on the hospital site (except for the Phase I Block, LB52536: see case 300031332).

The later additions to the Phase II Block include the linking corridors to the south and east elevations of the podium, which connect to the Phase III Block, and the abutting building to the northwest corner of the podium.

With the exception of the adjoining Phase I Block, the later additions to the Phase II Block (Tower and Podium) and the other buildings on the hospital site are not considered to be of special interest in listing terms. Some buildings, such as the Phase III Block and the Maggie's Centre are less than 30 years old and are not eligible for listing at this time (2020).

Historical development

The history and phased development of the Victoria Hospital site were concurrent with national developments in the provision of healthcare in the 20th century.

Built between 1962 and 1967 the Phase II Block (Tower and Podium) formed part of the second phase in the redevelopment and expansion of Victoria Hospital. The first phase had been completed between 1956 and 1958 (see Annex A). The masterplan for the wider site was conceived and laid out in the early 1950s by the Architect's Department of the South East Regional Hospital Board, under Chief Architect John Holt and project architect Eric D. Davidson.

Prior to redevelopment, the southern part of the present site was occupied by an Infectious Diseases Hospital. This was built in 1897 by Campbell, Douglas and Morrison and in 1908 a Sanotorium was added (Historic Hospitals, Fife). These earlier buildings are shown on the Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1943, 1947).

The Phase I Block was part of a £675,000 development scheme that also included the construction of a new nurse's home (Hayfield House), kitchens and a boiler house. The Phase I Block is first shown (partially) on the National Grid map of 1959. The remainder is shown on the National Grid map of 1967, along with the Phase II buildings, including the tower and podium to the south.

In the early 1950s, it was initially intended that a new general hospital was to be built at the Fever Hospital at Cameron Bridge, Windygates, Fife (Builder 1952, p. 892). However, this was later changed and Victoria Hospital was instead selected (Fife Hospitals).

The initial plans for the second stage in the expansion of the site were laid out in the mid 1950s, however the Phase II works were not built until 1962-67. With an estimated cost of £2.25m, the works were initially due to for completion in 1965 but the construction process was delayed by the discovery of coal mining shafts on the site. Combined with the first phase of works, they transformed Victoria Hospital into a District General Hospital for the whole of the East Fife region, and also provided central sterilising and laboratory services to serve the whole county.

It was noted in Hospital Planning, Management and Equipment (Vol. 28, 1965, p. 442) that the building employed the extensive use of modern communications systems, which served to reduce travel distances and improve speed and efficiency, particularly with regard to administration procedures. These features included a pneumatic tube system, high speed elevators, and central dictation and audio frequency staff location systems.

As shown on the National Grid map (published 1967), the Phase II Block abutted to the southwest corner of the Phase I Block and was also linked to the south elevation by the (current) glazed corridor. It was noted in 1967 (The Hospital and Health Services Review Vol. 63, p. 326) that the eastern side of the podium, where the accident and emergency department was then located, had a flyover approach ramp from the road providing emergency vehicular access. Modern maps and site evidence show that this flyover no longer exists and was removed by the early 21st century.

Throughout the later 20th century and early 21st century, various additions and extensions have been added to the exterior of the Phase II Block. These are all excluded from the listing.

In addition to the main Phase II Block (Tower and Podium) the other buildings in the Phase II works included a laboratory, incinerator house, laundry block and extended dining and administrative accommodation (Hospital Planning, Management and Equipment Vol. 28, 1965, p. 442). Many of these buildings from the Phase I and Phase II works remain on site (2020), however they are excluded from the listing.

Some of the earlier hospital buildings from the 19th and early 20th century survived on the site, up until the Phase III redevelopment of the site, which took place around 2010. Only one is now thought to survive (2020) to the south of the site but this has been substantially altered and extended and is excluded from the listing.

The Whyteman's Brae development to the north of Hayfield Road was initially laid out as part of the 1950s masterplan and the plans were approved in 1973. Constructed between 1980-83, the complex was purpose-built for the care of the elderly and the mentally ill (Historic Hospitals, Fife). Whyteman's Brae is excluded from the listing.

Statement of Special Interest

In our current state of knowledge the Phase II Block (Tower and Podium), Victoria Hospital, meets the criteria of special architectural or historic interest for the following reasons:

  • The Phase II Block is a major example of a new building type applied for hospital use, modelled on earlier examples from the USA and Europe.
  • It is an early example of a high-rise hospital design in Scotland, of which few examples survive in such an unaltered state.
  • The design quality reflects the Modernist ethos of hospital architecture that emerged and developed in the early post-war period.
  • The setting has been partially altered by later development, however the Phase II Block retains a setting that is connected to its group interest. It is the principal part of a wider hospital site that shows a continuity and consistency in terms of its phased design.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: all later additions and other buildings on the hospital site (except for the Phase I Block, LB52536: see case 300031332).

Architectural interest

Design

The Phase II Block was the principal building in the second phase of works to transform Victoria Hospital into a General District Hospital for East Fife. Conceived in the mid 1950s and built between 1962 and 1967, it is innovative for being among the earliest examples of high-rise hospital design in both Scotland and the UK.

The formation of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948 led to a huge expansion in hospital building in the 30 years that followed. Prior to this, Scotland had already begun to experiment with a modernist approach to hospital architecture with schemes such as Ayrshire Central Hospital (LB35452) and Hawkhead Hospital (LB39010). This became more widespread after the Second World War, whereby Modernism in architecture sought to directly equate with improvements in health-care. The new philosophies in hospital design were based on science, function and open-ended planning. They rejected needless historicist architectural embellishments and embraced an honest aesthetic of efficiency and modernity. Reflecting advances in treatment, a crucial change was that hospital planning shifted away from the use of isolated pavilions, towards the American precedent of highly serviced, compact blocks that were further subdivided into smaller and more private rooms.

The Vale of Leven Hospital (1952-55) by Keppie, Henderson and Gleave, was the first new-build post-war hospital to be completed in Britain following the formation of the NHS. Its linear, low-density and dispersed plan form retained elements of the earlier pavilion plan, however it introduced systematic building to hospital design and incorporated identical pre-fabricated blocks for each department.

Following a period of experimentation in the 1950s, the free-standing multi-storey approach to hospital planning, with centralised services and smaller wards on a 'racetrack' (or double-corridor) plan, was pioneered by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia at Bellshill Maternity Hospital in 1959-62 (demolished). This vertical configuration that was served by a lower spine or podium, was based on earlier hospitals from the USA, and European counties such as Sweden and Switzerland that had remained neutral during the Second World War. The model was subject to further study in the 1960s, after which it was rolled out across the UK.

As a result of its success, the majority of hospital designs during the early period of NHS expansion broadly followed the multi-storey template. Their form and appearance was based on the design of early 1950s hospitals from the USA (such as Bellvue Medical Centre, New York) and modern office blocks, such as the highly influential Lever House in New York (1952) and its later emulations, which in Scotland included the likes of Fleming House in Glasgow (1958-62). However, as there were many variations on the design of these high-rise hospitals, there were subsequently varying degrees of success. The inflexibility of the overall form, combined with an over-reliance on technological systems, meant that by the 1970s its suitability for hospital use was being scrutinised.

In design terms the Phase II Block is a major example of the multi-storey centralised hospital that reflects the new and developing ethos of hospital architecture during the post-war period. The block is built using non-traditional materials and methods, which rejected the notions of hierarchy and decorative embellishment previously associated with hospital architecture. The clean lines and simple geometric form are characteristic of the sleek Modernist aesthetic, which, due to its association with cleanliness, efficiency and technological advancement, came to be the defining style of post-war hospital architecture.

The podium and tower arrangement (known as the 'matchbox on a muffin' arrangement) was used in some earlier and contemporary hospitals, such as Hull Royal Infirmary (1957-65). However, as there were deviations from the standard type, many other examples did not use a podium and instead had spines or linking blocks. As a major example of the 'matchbox on a muffin' solution to hospital design in Britain during the early post-war period, the Phase II Block is of special interest in design terms.

Functionality and centralisation were thought to be integral to creating a modern and effective health service. The plan form of the Phase II Block is based on these principles that were derived from Scandinavian hospital design. It combined ward units and operating theatre suites within the tower, whilst the podium contained an accident and emergency department, outpatients, the X-ray department, rehabilitation services and day beds.

By using this arrangement the standardised units were accommodated in the tower, whilst those that required larger or more flexible space were contained in the podium. Influenced by the production methods of industry and mechanisation, this systematic approach to planning, combined with a reliance on technological and modern communication systems, reflects the efforts of the period to increase efficiency in hospitals (Hughes 2000, p. 39-40).

The initial plan form of the tower, which was conceived in the mid 1950s, was later altered to create that which was built. The earlier incarnation was based on the Nuffield ward principle, however this was changed to a variation of the 'double corridor' or 'racetrack' layout. Reflecting new research into efficiency and effectiveness of ward design, this type was being developed by the Department of Home and Health for Scotland in an experimental ward unit at Falkirk Royal Infirmary (Keppie Henderson and Partners, completed in 1966).

In the Phase II Block at Victoria Hospital, the 30-bed ward units were planned on this double corridor principle with six four-bed bays and six single rooms. These were served by two nurses' stations and centrally positioned treatment areas and clean/dirty supply areas (Hospital Planning, Management and Equipment Vol.28, 1965, p. 442). Whilst it was not the first example of the 'double corridor' layout, the Phase II Block is a relatively early representative of a variation on the type.

The interior decorative scheme, fixtures and fittings are sparse and functional in nature. This is typical for a hospital building of the early post-war period, as is the combination of some original fabric with later 20th century replacements.

The Phase II Block has been subject to some incremental alterations and insertions of replacement fabric over the years, however it has remained relatively unaltered since its construction in the mid 1960s. The plan form, materials and overall appearance are largely well-retained and the structure has a high level of authenticity. This is unusual for a general hospital building from this period, which has had to respond to regularly changing requirements, and this adds to its significance in listing terms.

The wider context of the site is also of interest in design terms as although the transformation of the site was completed in various stages, it did adhere to an overall masterplan and design consistency. The contrast between the Phase I Block and the Phase II Block demonstrates the evolution of Modernism in post-war Scotland but also illustrates the rapid pace of developments in hospital design from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s.

John Holt was Chief Architect of the South East Regional Hospital Board's Architects Department and was responsible for overseeing many new and innovative health related buildings, including the Radiotherapeutic Institute at Edinburgh's Western General Hospital (1952-54) and the pioneering health centres at Sighthill, Edinburgh (1951-53) and Stranraer (1954-55). Eric D. Davidson was the project architect in charge of masterminding the extensions at Victoria Hospital. Although early in his career, it is noted (Dictionary of Scottish Architects) that Holt gave Davidson little guidance on the project. The design of Victoria Hospital is therefore thought to be the work of Davidson, who went on to be appointed as Assistant Director and Chief Architect in the newly formed Scottish Health Service Building Division in 1974.

Setting

Located towards the centre of a purpose-built hospital site, the Phase II Block is abutted by adjoining hospital buildings on all elevations, except for the west. Most notably, the Phase I block, LB52536 (1956-58), is interlinked to the north elevation and the later Phase III Block (2009-12) to the south. The tower overlooks a large area of sunken ground to the west, which was formally the recreation ground for the hospital.

Set back from the main roads that encircle the site, the Phase II Block is the dominant feature within the hospital site and the wider streetscape setting. Visible from many streets away, the height and scale of the tower means that it is a key feature within the skyline of the Hayfield and Sinclairtown areas of Kirkcaldy. The town is sited on land that gently slopes southeast, giving the tower uninterrupted views south towards the sea. The immediate setting has been affected by the construction of the adjoining six-storey Phase III Block, which has partially obscured the south elevation of the tower. Formerly surrounded by low-level buildings, this has lessened the scale and isolated setting of the tower, however the overall impact is relatively minor.

The Victoria Hospital site was extended and almost entirely redeveloped from a former Infectious Diseases Hospital into a General District Hospital in the 1950s and 1960s. Since this time, the site has since been subject to further phased changes and additions. Despite the phased approach, which took decades to complete, the design consistency of the masterplan is reflected in the architectural continuity evident in many of the buildings on the hospital site. This level of planning and concern for a high-quality architecture across a large site of this nature, is of interest in design terms.

Currently (2020), the majority of buildings date from the Phase I and Phase II redevelopment scheme of the 1950s and 1960s. They include various ancillary buildings that front Dunniker Road, and the former Nurse's Home (Hayfield House) and the Laboratory Block. These buildings do not meet the criteria for listing, however they do form part of the post-war masterplan for the whole site. They provide an important contextual setting for the main hospital buildings and show how the phased expansion of the site was designed in a consistent manner.

This ethos of design excellence was continued in the Maggie's Centre (2006), located just to the south of the Phase II Block, which was designed by the world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid.

Historic interest

Age and rarity

Hospital buildings are not a rare building type and can be found across Scotland. The earliest example of a new hospital to be built in Britain following the formation of the NHS in 1948, was the Vale of Leven Hospital in Dunbartonshire (1952-55). In contrast to its low-level, campus-style design, Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry (1949-60) and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Welwyn (1955-63) were the first examples of high-rise hospitals to be built in the UK.

These were early incarnations of the high-rise model and therefore their design did not truly adopt the idea of the tower and podium arrangement. The St Lo Hospital in Normandy (1949) by the American architect Paul Nelson successfully combined the standardised and scientific approach prevalent in hospital architecture the USA, with the modernist sensibilities of inter-war Europe. It was a model that was repeated across the USA in the mid 1950s and heavily influenced the design of post-war hospitals in the UK.

Hull Royal Infirmary (1957-65) is thought to be the first hospital in the UK to fully embrace the model of a vertical tower over a horizontal podium, the style of which became known as the 'matchbox on a muffin' arrangement. This set the precedent for a nationwide programme of high-rise hospital design, which would come to dominate hospital architecture in the post-war period and continued into the 1970s.

Conceived in the mid 1950s and built between 1962 and 1967, the Phase II Block at Victoria Hospital is amongst the earliest examples in both Scotland and in the UK. Contemporary examples of high-rise hospitals in Scotland include the Bellshill Maternity Hospital (1959-62) (demolished), the Queen Mother Maternity Hospital, Glasgow (1960-64), Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (from 1964) and Gartnavel, Glasgow (1968-73). However, a number of these do not have a true podium at the base.

The Phase II Block represents a rare and early example in Scotland of the 'matchbox on a muffin' solution to hospital design and is therefore of special historic interest.

Many of the other examples of early high-rise hospitals in Scotland have been lost, are lying vacant or have been substantially altered or extended. Those that survive close to their original form may be of interest in listing terms. The Phase II Block has had replacement fabric inserted and alterations to its layout, as well as extensions added and changes to its setting. However, this is typical for a working hospital building. When compared with other surviving examples from the period, it has remained relatively unaltered and retains much of its early character.

Social historical interest

All hospital buildings will have a degree of social historical interest, however the Phase II Block (Tower and Podium), along with the masterplan for the wider hospital site, are of particular interest under this heading. As a relatively early example of a high-rise post-war hospital building, it reflects the substantial social and economic changes that occurred in mid-20th century Britain following the introduction of the Welfare State, as the provision of suitable hospital buildings became a principal concern. These changing attitudes in medical treatment and patient care occurred against a backdrop of social infrastructural change which also saw nationwide improvements in housing, schools and transportation networks.

Association with people or events of national importance

There is no association with a person or event of national importance.

References

Bibliography

Canmore: http://canmore.org.uk/ CANMORE ID 350069 and 94174

Maps

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1943, 1947) Fifeshire XXXV.8 (Kirkcaldy and Dysart) 25 inches to the mile. 2nd and later Editions. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1958, published 1959) NT2893SW - C (includes: Kirkcaldy And Dysart) National Grid Maps. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1966, published 1967) NT2793SE - B (includes: Kirkcaldy And Dysart) National Grid Maps. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Archives

Photographic copies of floor and site plans for Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy from the Atkins, W.S. Collection, Ref: C 79524 – C 79541 (c.1955 – c.1970) Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Printed Sources

Hospitals at Home and Abroad, in British Medical Journal, (September 1960) pp. 1-12.

British Medical Journal, (18 June 1960), p. 1903.

British Medical Journal, (3 February 1962), p. 331.

British Medical Journal, (12 November 1966), p. 1195.

British Medical Journal Vol. 288, (21 January 1984).

Builder, (12 December 1952), p. 892.

Builder, (22 February 1957), pp. 362-64.

Builder, (12 December 1958), p. 1062.

Builder, (10 August 1962), p. 308.

Fife Free Press and Kirkcaldy Guardian, (12 February 1955), p.8.

Fife Free Press and Kirkcaldy Guardian, (28 May 1955), p.7.

Fife Advertiser, (27 October 1956), p.8.

Glendinning, M (ed.) (1997) Rebuilding Scotland: The Post-War Vision 1945-75, East Linton: Tuckwell Press Ltd. p. 28.

Historic Scotland (2009) Scotland: Building for the Future, Essays on the architecture of the post-war era, Edinburgh: Historic Scotland, pp. 6, 29-32.

Hospital and Health Services Review Vol. 63, (1967), p. 326.

Hospital Health and Management Vol. 24, (1961), p. 27.

Hospital Management, Planning and Equipment Vol. 27, (1964), pp. 883-86, 960.

Hospital Planning, Management and Equipment Vol. 28, (1965), p. 442.

Hughes, J. The "Matchbox on a Muffin": The Design of Hospitals in the Early NHS, in Medical History Vol.44 (2000), pp. 21-56.

Richardson, H and MacInnes, R. (2010) Building Up Our Health: the architecture of Scotland's historic hospitals, Edinburgh: Historic Scotland, pp. 97-98, 108-111.

Richardson, H and Stell, G. Health and Welfare, in Scottish Life and Society: Scotland's Buildings, A Compendium of Scottish Ethnology, Vol. 3, (2003) East Lothian: Tuckwell Press, pp. 314-15.

Online Sources

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Victoria Hospital

http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/building_full.php?id=203985 [accessed 25/09/2019].

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Home for the Nurses of Kirkcaldy General Hospital

http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/building_full.php?id=402643 [accessed 25/09/2019].

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Victoria Hospital, Nurses' Home

http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/building_full.php?id=401409 [accessed 25/09/2019].

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, John Holt

http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=400936 [accessed 25/09/2019].

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Eric Dalgleish Davidson

http://www.scottisharchitects.org.uk/architect_full.php?id=403457 [accessed 25/09/2019].

Fife Hospitals (2017)

www.elliottsimpson.com/history/fife.html [accessed 25/09/2019].

Francis, S. Glanville, R. Noble, A. and Scher, P. (1999) 50 Years of Ideas in Health Care Buildings, London: Nuffield Trust, p.18. https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/files/2017-01/50-years-ideas-health-care-buildings-web-final.pdf [accessed 25/09/2019].

Historic Hospitals: An Architectural Gazetteer, Fife

https://historic-hospitals.com/gazetteer/fife-2/ [accessed 25/09/2019].

Historic Hospitals: Victoria Hospital, Fife

https://historic-hospitals.com/2019/11/03/victoria-hospital-fife/comment-page-1/ [accessed 26/02/2020].

Nazarian, M. (2019) Hospital Nursing Staff Productivity - the role of layout and people circulation, Doctoral Thesis: Loughborough University, pp. 73-76, 104-106. https://repository.lboro.ac.uk/articles/Hospital_nursing_staff_productivity_-_the_role_of_layout_and_people_circulation/9455765 [accessed 26/09/2019]

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

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Images

Phase II Block of Victoria Hospital, west and north elevations, looking east, during daytime, on clear day with blue sky
Phase II Block of Victoria Hospital, principal (south) elevation, looking northeast, during daytime, on clear day with blue sky

Printed: 03/10/2022 15:54