Dunfermline, Fife

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In about 1843, Dunfermline erected a parish poorhouse at the north-east of the town on the north side of Cemetery Road (now Leys Park Road). The site location and later layout are shown on the 1911 map below:

Dunfermline site, 1911

A porter's lodge stood at the south-west entrance to the site.

Dunfermline lodge from the south-east, 2001.
© Peter Higginbotham.

The original building followed the H-shaped layout typical of many Scottish poorhouses. The larger section at the front would have contained the Master's quarters, committee rooms and clerk's office. The two wings of the front block contained male and female accommodation. However, in 1905-7 the poorhouse buildings were extended eastwards. The original front block became what is now the west wing of the building and a new central portion and matching east wing were built.

Dunfermline from the south (original portion at left), 2001.
© Peter Higginbotham.

Dunfermline detail of 1905 central facade, 2001.
© Peter Higginbotham.

The poorhouse dining-hall and chapel were located at the rear centre of the main block. Originally, the rear part of the poorhouse range would probably have been a row of single-storey work and utility rooms including a bakehouse on the men's side and laundry on the female side. Several new blocks were erected in this area as part of the 1905 enlargement scheme.

Dunfermline from the north-east, 2001.
© Peter Higginbotham.

A separate building at the north of the poorhouse may have been used as an isolation hospital.

Dunfermline isolation block(?) from the south, 2001.
© Peter Higginbotham.

In 1890, a Combination of parishes for the joint administration of poor relief was formed around Dunfermline. It initially comprised the parishes Beath, Carnock, Culross, Dalgety, Dunfermline, Inverkeithing, Saline and Torryburn. These were later joined by Auchterderran, then in around 1907 by Ballingry, and in 1909 by Aberdour. The Combination took over Dunfermline's existing parish poorhouse.

The poorhouse was later known as the Dunfermline Combination Home and Hospital. In 1946, it could accommodate 232 inmates, including 124 beds for the chronic sick.

The buildings subsequently became the Northern Hospital but are now used as a care home for the elderly.




Note: many repositories impose a closure period of up to 100 years for records identifying individuals.

No registers of inmates survive.

  • Fife Council Archive Centre, Carleton House The Haig Business Park, Balgonie Road, Markinch, Glenrothes KY7 6AQ. Holdings comprise: Register of restraint and seclusion (1859-67) - it names 6 inmates: Robert Beveridge, George Westwood, John Campbell, James McNair, and George Philp; Dunfermline Cemetery registers of interments includes burials of some of the inmates from the Poorhouse.
  • Some Management Committee minutes are held at Dunfermline Carnegie Library (Tel: 01383-602365).


  • None.


  • None.

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