Whitehill House

(St Joseph's Hospital)

St Joseph's Hospital
©2024 Gazetteer for Scotland

St Joseph's Hospital

Situated a half-mile (1 km) southeast of Rosewell in Midlothian, Whitehill House is an impressive Tudor-revival building by David Bryce (1803-76) and William Burn (1789 - 1870). It was built in 1844 as a home for Wardlaw Ramsay, proprietor of the nearby Whitehill Colliery (which was later acquired by the engineer Archibald Hood). A sizeable porte-cochere, supported by Tuscan columns, is the most notable feature of the entrance front, with a large stable block to the west which is now converted to form flats. Inside many of the Jacobean details remain.

The house was used as a Red Cross hospital during the First World War. In 1924 it was opened as St. Joseph's Hospital by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. This became home to severely disabled children, growing from an initial group of 20 to more than 200 by the late 1940s. The old house was multiply extended and, in 1942, a Nurse Training School to be established here. In 1982, Pope John Paul II visited and delivered an address in the chapel. By the late 1990s, in line with changing social policies, the children were rehoused within their local communities and the property was sold. St Joseph's Services continues to support disabled people across Midlothian from their base in Rosewell. In 1999, the house was purchased by a developer, with the intention of converting it into luxury housing. 20th C. extensions including a chapel, refectory block and swimming pool have all been demolished. Meantime the house has been used for the filming of a Channel 4 television drama. The surrounding estate has been developed as an 18-hole golf course.

Whitehill House was A-listed in 1971.

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