Our Leanchoil Project

Telling the Story of Leanchoil

For over a hundred years, the hospital has served the community of Forres and surrounding rural areas. It was built in 1892 with money raised by public subscription and a substantial donation from Sir Donald Alexander Smith (later Lord Strathcona), who was born in Forres but made his fortune in Canada. A traditional style Victorian cottage hospital, the two-storey building included matron’s and surgeon’s rooms with an operation room, kitchen, scullery and bedrooms on the upper floor for matron, nurses and servants.

But Leanchoil Hospital is much more than bricks and mortar; the hospital played a central part in the lives of many hundreds of people. From its role as a maternity hospital, through to providing palliative care to elderly people, the hospital embodies the endeavour, care and human spirit of people across a century of change. When NHS Grampian closed the hospital in 2018, our community expressed a strong desire to save the building for health and wellbeing-related purposes and to record the memories of those who worked and were patients there.

We have been lucky to receive funding from Berry Burn Community Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund for ‘Our Leanchoil’ project which explores, preserves, and illuminates the history of Leanchoil Hospital and its special place in our local community. This 9-month project collected the memories, photographs and personal stories bringing together the human voices that make up the true history of this hospital and are shared in this permanent digital exhibition.


Leanchoil Trust Catchment Area Forres, Moray

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The 'Our Leanchoil' project worked with more than sixty fabulous English and Drama students at Forres Academy last year. They created amazing new poetry and drama inspired by the memories, stories and photographs of Leanchoil and its people. Explore some of their words here:


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