Work starts on second phase of £5.5m Hospitalfield development

Culture Minister Neil Gray with Hospitalfield director Lucy Byatt.Culture Minister Neil Gray with Hospitalfield director Lucy Byatt.
Culture Minister Neil Gray with Hospitalfield director Lucy Byatt.
The latest stage in the £5.5 million development of facilities at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath is now under way.

The Hospitalfield Trust has said that the project, supported by the Tay Cities Region Deal, will see one of Scotland’s most significant Arts & Crafts country houses and former arts school transformed into a destination for artists as well as visitors to the region.

Built in the 19th and early 20th century, the former school’s studios have had an extraordinary history, with renowned artists including Joan Eardley, Alastair McLennan and Sir Peter Blake honing their skills in what is now one of the few remaining purpose-built studios of their kind in Scotland.

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The work is a continuation of the transformation at Hospitalfield which began in May 2021 with the opening of the walled garden, designed by Nigel Dunnett and the restoration of the 19th century fernery and greenhouse café, designed by Caruso St John.

Despite the impact of the pandemic in the first year since opening, Hospitalfield hosted over 12,000 visits in response to a new destination opening in the region.

The second phase of the development will create world-class facilities for artists from all backgrounds and from around the world. It will include a new digital facility with a soundproof studio and wet dark room. The house’s old laundry and tack rooms will be renovated to accommodate Garden Club volunteers and support horticultural programmes.

Due to rising costs in the construction industry, however, the trust is facing a funding challenge to develop accommodation for visiting artists.

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Lucy Byatt, director, said: “Our vision is for artists to be living and working from the historic house and using the studios. The new guest house allows us to provide hospitality on site for anyone who wishes to book it. This is what we really need in Arbroath, a place where people can stay and spend more time exploring Angus.”

I feel the responsibility very keenly to fill the funding gap so that we can complete this.”

Culture Minister Neil Gray added: “When completed the latest development will offer a fantastic modern space to artists and people from the wider community who come here to work, study and learn.”