A near 270-year-old city hospital will close its doors for the final time on Monday, ahead of multi-million pound plans to transform the site into a boutique hotel.
Woolmanhill was Aberdeen’s original Royal Infirmary due to a nearby spring of water which many believed had medicinal qualities for the treatment of diseases of the stomach, mouth, liver, bladder and kidneys, as well as being considered “a well-aired place” by health bosses.
It wasn’t until the late 18th Century that city medical officer of health Professor Matthew Hay suggested bringing the health services of Aberdeen together on the Foresterhill site.
The audiology and ear, nose and throat (ENT) clinics are the last to be moved out of the facility relocating to newly- renovated wards in Woodend Hospital from next week.
Services such as diabetes treatment and endocrinology have already moved from Woolmanhill to the David Anderson Building at Foresterhill Health Campus.
Councillor for the area Bill Cormie said: “Woolmanhill has been a great servant to the people of Aberdeen and the North-east.
“The future is bright though as there are big plans for the area to look forward to.”
Four A-listed buildings at Woolmanhill will be transformed into a 52-bedroom boutique hotel, with 30 residential apartments and 10 homes.
There will also be a traffic-free central square at the heart of the development.
Plans for Woolmanhill were jointly submitted by developer Charlie Ferrari’s company CAF Properties (Woolmanhill) Ltd and NHS Grampian, who are the current owners of the site.
Mr Ferrari expects work to get under way in June.
The NHS site is one of several sold off as part of plans to free up funds for future investment at the health board, while focusing on localising patient care.
The transformation of the former hospital is one of several planned for the region, including the demolition of the current Aberdeen Maternity Hospital in 2021.
Services will transfer to the £120 million Baird Family Hospital, which is on track to open in 2020.
Woolmanhill grew from a mere 20-bed facility when it opened to having a capacity of a few hundred. A fever house was then added at a cost of £2,500 followed by a complete rebuild in 1833 at a cost of £17,000.
It was completed in a Grecian style, while the Simpson Pavilion – designed by Aberdeen architect Archibald Simpson – is one of the last surviving examples of a pre-Nightingale style of hospital design.
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, as we now know it, was designed by James Brown Nicol in 1927 and was officially opened by the Queen Mother and her husband the Duke of York in 1936.
An NHS Grampian spokeswoman said: “Ear, nose and throat (ENT) and audiology services are moving from Woolmanhill Hospital to Woodend Hospital and will be open to patients on Monday.
“A nine-month programme of construction work at Woodend Hospital has transformed two former ward areas into a new and fresh clinical environment.
“There will be new audiology booths, a hearing aid workshop and examination rooms.”
“There are currently 85,000 patients registered with ENT and audiology services.”