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1807   -  Dr Alexander Gray dies in Calcutta aged 53, bequeathing £20,000 (equivalent to nearly £1.6 million

                 today) for the establishment of 'an Hospital in the Town of Elgin for the benefit of the Sick and Poor of that

                Town and County of Moray’


1811  -  Will ‘proved’ in the Court of Chancery, having been contested by his estranged wife and relatives


1814  -  Funds released to the Trustees by the Court. James Gillespie Graham engaged as architect on the

               recommendation of the Earl of Moray. After several failed bids for sites around Elgin, the current site was 

               feued for £6 per annum


1815 – Tender of £6150 accepted from Messrs Smith of Inverness in April, for completion by Whit Sunday 1817.

              Foundation stone laid on 11th July – ceremony curtailed by news of Wellington’s victory at Waterloo 

              reaching Elgin. Despite several searches during works over the years the stone has never been identified.


1816 – Clock and bell commissioned for the tower, plus a ‘leaden figure’ for the top of the dome. The east (town)

 -17       face was to be ‘of superior quality’ costing 18 guineas, while the other three cost around 10 guineas.

              The 1cwt bell – still in situ - cost £66 and the figure – long gone - £60


1818 -   First (part time) medical staff appointed in July – James Stephen, Physician(son of Dr Gray’s first mentor),

               at £45 p.a. and Alexander Scott, Surgeon at £35. Dr Scott later withdrew before the Hospital opened, and

               Dr James Coull replaced him. £100 allocated to them for furnishings, medicines and surgical instruments.

               Full time establishment agreed as porter, housekeeper, cook, sick nurse and nurse/washer.  Clock and bell

               delivered and installed July – August


1819 -  Hospital opens without ceremony on New Years Day with 30 beds. Admission by letter of recommendation

              from parish minister or two elders (apart from accidents and fever). 204 in- and outpatients seen by 31st

              December, 134 discharged cured and 5 died


1822 -  Fever ward subdivided into male and female.  Trustees asked to consider building a ‘pauper lunatic asylum’  

              adjacent to Gray’s –  opened in 1835 and became Bilbohall Hospital


1826 -  Housekeeper dismissed on account of ‘outrageous conduct which all attributed to the effects of



1829 -  Dr Coull retires due to ill-health. Dr John Paul appointed - he remained for 30 years and later reportedly

               became President of the British Medical Association(unable to confirm this)


1832 -  Hospital closed to cholera cases ‘to protect the current inpatients’


1836 -  First resident junior doctor (House Surgeon) appointed


1838 – Smallpox outbreak in Moray – vaccination offered for children at Gray’s on 2 days/week. New water closets



1839 -  Gas lighting proposed but too costly – extra oil lamps bought


1840 -  'Missionary' appointed to provide spiritual comfort to patients


1843 – Gas installed – cost £187


1844 – Piped water installed. Crockery and cutlery provided for patients – previously tin basin and spoon!


1845 -  Lead stripped from dome by ‘hurricane’, current lantern added during repairs at suggestion of builder ‘ to

               improve the proportions’, cost £20


1846 -  Financial deficit over past two years due to increased patient numbers – number of measures considered

              including reducing beds.


1847-  Death of Sir Archibald Dunbar, last original Trustee 


?1849 – First use of chloroform at Gray’s


1887 – June – special dinner for patients to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee (including donated oranges)


1888 – Visiting physicians and surgeons to be elected on rotation and according to seniority by their peers in the

            Town, and to retire at 65. First appointment of Matron rather than Housekeeper 


1891 – Circulating hot water and new lavatories installed


1894 – National telephone Company installs ‘phone at half price


1900 – Board Room offered to War Office for Boer War casualties – not needed. Only two lady doctors applied for

             vacant House Surgeon post – to be re-advertised with salary increase to £50 p.a.


1902 – first request for ‘Roentgen apparatus’ (X-Ray) by Medical staff – x-rays had only been discovered in 1895


1905 – improvements/new wing being considered following generous donations. Prof Ogston of Aberdeen   



  • Installation of X Ray machine

  • Installation of lift

  • Improvement to theatre and bathrooms/WCs

  • TB ward for early cases on upper floor

  • Reinstate outdoor dispensary (OPD)

  • Appoint more (unpaid) specialist Medical staff including an ‘Electrician’ (early Radiologist)


1908 –  Non-medical staff increased to 14 including 6 nurses


1909 –  Recommended improvements completed – total cost £8293


1911 -  Donation of 250 North Pacific Railway shares (value `~£5,000) offered by Lord Mountstephen on condition

              of matching contribution from local people


1914 -  August –  request from board of Admiralty for use of 40 beds in case of a battle in northern North Sea

              October - 40 wounded soldiers transferred from First Scottish General Hospital Aberdeen

              (now Woodend Hospital) for convalescence. Subsequent problems reported following ‘alcoholic liquors’ being                      introduced, and one case of insubordination


1916 -  Hospital insured against ‘bombardment and aircraft risk”


1917 -  Need for motorised ambulance to transport wounded from station to hospital noted


1918 -  November – end of military admissions. Letter of thanks received from Commanding Officer, First Scottish  

              General Hospital


1919 – Agreement to admit complex maternity cases eg eclampsia


1920 -  Agreement to admit obstetric emergencies and postnatal complications requiring surgery


1921 – Request to admit ordinary obstetric case declined due to lack of accommodation


1924  - Recognised for nurse training by General Nursing Council. New main entrance created at West

              Road/Pluscarden Road junction during improvements by town council – original entrance moved further

              west on Pluscarden Road


1926 – UV light therapy equipment gifted


1927 -  Cystoscope purchased (for bladder disease/stones)


1931 -  Specialist nurse appointed for X-Ray/Electrical department


1932 – Lead rubber protective apron purchased for X-Ray. Hairdresser appointed at £12p.a., to attend every 

              Sunday morning


1936 -  Further extension planned, funded by public appeal. Initial professional Coordinator (on 2.5% commission)

              caused outcry, appeal subsequently run by Hospital Secretary and Treasurer


1938 -  Change of electricity supply from DC to AC. Request from Medical staff to approach Mr Mitchell, Aberdeen

               to provide an Orthopaedic clinic, and to formalise Dr Levack, visiting Radiologist’s attendance to at least

               one day per month


1939 – RAF Principal Medical Officer requests arrangements for admission of casualties, terms agreed. New   

              extension, containing Outpatient, X-Ray and physiotherapy departments, childrens ward and nurses home

              opened without formal ceremony. Basic air raid precautions taken including water tank in front of Hospital


1942 – Resident Medical Officer appointed at £2.10s/week, with lodgings in Grant Street


1948 – July. Start of the NHS. Gray’s comes under NE Regional Hospital Board in Aberdeen, with local 

              Board of Management for Moray Hospitals


1959 – Nursing staff at Gray’s, Bilbohall and Maryhill united under first Group Matron, Miss Macdonald


1961 – Plans to integrate Gray’s and Bilbohall including new theatre, central kitchen, dining room and Occupational

              Therapy Dept – estimated cost 180,000


1966 –  Work starts. Widespread dry rot and other structural defects found in Gray’s, needing much more extensive  

              reconstruction and modernisation in stages


1970 –  Completed. Gray’s almost completely transformed internally – 33 female surgical and childrens’ beds 

              on first floor, 33 male surgical beds on second floor, 17 bed medical ward in old nurses’ home on first floor,

              improved outpatient and X-Ray depts on ground floor and operating theatre with dedicated lift to wards. Link

              corridor to Bilbohall with central kitchen, staff dining room, OT department and offices off, plus first WRVS

              shop. Total cost £500,000, officially opened in September by Rear Admiral David Dunbar-Nasmith.


1974 – NHS Reorganisation. Gray’s now in Moray District of Grampian Health Board, pop 76,000, with Executive

              group of four - Administrator, Medical, Nursing and Finance Officers- replacing the local Board of



1980 – Planning starts for Geriatric assessment/rehabilitation unit to include Physiotherapy dept and stores


1982 – March. GAU and Physio opened


1988  – Option appraisal for expansion of Gray’s to incorporate specialist Maternity unit following successful local

 -89       campaign (MUM)


1990 – Decision to build on existing site behind original building, with demolition of Bilbohall. Plans subsequently

              revised to include Orthopaedic service – total cost £22 million


1992 – November. Work starts.


1993 – January. Moray Scanner Appeal launched to purchase a CT scanner for the new Radiology    

              department, target £750,000 over 3 years. April. Moray Health Services NHS Trust takes over management 

              of Dr Gray’s and Moray community hospitals plus community health services


1995 – May/June. First phase of redevelopment – new wards, delivery suite, theatres and day case unit - opens.

              July. Scanner Appeal reaches target 6 months early. Final total raised over £900,000


1997 – January. New Radiology, A&E and Outpatients Depts open, complete with top of the range CT Scanner.

              Surplus Scanner Appeal funds used to provide ultrasound scanners for Maternity and Cardiology, and

              equipment for community hospitals. November.


1998 - Final phase completed with refurbishment of original Gray’s building, including a High Dependency Unit. 

              April. Dr Gray’s becomes part of Grampian University Hospitals Trust in yet another management reorganisation


2004 – April. Dr Gray’s becomes part of the Acute sector of NHS Grampian


2010 – New purpose built day case Oncology suite (Spey Unit) opens between A&E and original building 


2011 –  Firemaster advises original building no longer suitable for in-patients due to time required to

               evacuate. NHS Grampian given until July 2013 to organise alternative provision. Local proposal for new 28

               bed medical block deemed ‘unaffordable’ given financial climate, much more limited project using internal

               redesign of 1994 ward block and repurposing of Spey Oncology unit approved and funded December, with  

               net loss of ?25 beds


2013 -  July. Last in-patients moved from original building, ending 194 years of almost continuous use. First floor

              subsequently refurbished to provide replacement Spey Unit and day case/out patient facility, second floor

              re-equipped as training area, offices and videoconference room

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