End of an era for Sunnyside

Aileen Kirkaldy is pictured receiving her gifts from support services manager Bill Thomson.'Staff photo
Aileen Kirkaldy is pictured receiving her gifts from support services manager Bill Thomson.'Staff photo

IT WAS the definitive end of an era recently when the last member of staff to retire from Sunnyside Hospital said goodbye to colleagues.

Aileen Kirkaldy retired from the hospital’s laundry after 41 years, latterly in the post of linen service manager.

Although staff and patients were moved in December to NHS Tayside’s new mental health facility at Stracathro Hospital, near Brechin, some services were still functioning at the hospital including the laundry and kitchens.

Mrs Kirkaldy, who lives in Hillside, is married to Thomas and has one daughter Nicola. Keen bowlers, the couple are both members of the village’s club and are well-known in local circles as the Mr and Mrs of bowling, a title they won at the Hope Paton’s annual tournament in 2008.

Her departure was marked with a presentation by support services manager Bill Thomson on behalf of her friends and colleagues.

The kitchens, which continued to produce meals for both staff and patients at Stracathro, closed their doors for the last time in March marking the end of the site’s 154-year history.

The hospital was completed in 1858, successor to Montrose Lunatic Asylum founded by Susan Carnegie in 1781, but continued to develop and in 1899 Carnegie House was built to house private patients. With 670 patients by 1900, extra accommodation was needed and Howden Villa was completed the following year. Northesk Villa was added in 1904 and Westmount Cottages were built in 1905 to accommodate extra staff. When the lease on Sunnyside Farm expired in 1911, more than 50 acres were acquired for development and Angus House was built in 1939 to accommodate elderly dementia patients.

Although the hospital’s facilities have now gone, the name of the original founder lives on in the new Stracathro unit, the Susan Carnegie Clinic.