Smithston Poorhouse and Asylum - Ravenscraig

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Apr 5, 2013
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Where to begin with this one..... Its been a long story ::D

Back in mid 2007, I was on a return trip from Inverkip. I drove past and decided to stop to check how far on the closure of the site had moved. The Western side of the hospital was clearly derelict and peaked the interest of us all.

An overhead image

I dropped into a corridor, fairly apparent that it was not in use, although there was a soft drinks vending machine still powered up. :-\ . I checked the doors around me and found that we would be able to make our way around a section of the hospital. I then made my way back to the corridor my companions were waiting in. Just as I got to the corridor, I looked out the window towards the front of the asylum. Imagine my horror, when I spotted the Hi-Viz Security jacket walking past the window (thankfully oblivious to the explorer staring from inside). We made our way quickly back outside. Fortunately, we were just in time and we wandered back along the road bumping into the rather polite security man on the way. No photos were taken during this escapade sadly.

Fast forward a month or so and I went back to the site. I dropped in to the old Western side of the asylum and proceeded to explore the available sections. A selection of the photos we got (apologies for the quality - I couldnt even hold a camera straight back then) are below.

This is the corridor I was in when I spotted the security man the previous visit.

A staircase

One of the derelict wards (remember this - and see what it looks like in a few

The old dentist chair was still there too

SO, anyway, after wandering this section we called it a night and made our escape without incident. A few nights later we decided to try an access the rest of the hospital..... and it all went horribly wrong. We dropped into an old (very old) kitchen area, the proceeded to wander along some nice corridors. Sadly none of my photos actually made it aside from this one .....

That door ....

When it was opened, it set off the alarm for the entire site. We immediately left via the fire escape at the bottom of the stairs. Unfortunately though we didnt get away from the site quick enough, and the police decided to attend. Luckily due to our cooperation nothing really happened with it aside from a huge dent in our egos until the commotion died away a few months later. Bear in mind, this was when Scottish Police did not know what Urbex was.

Moving on, to around 2011/12 approximately. I revisited the site with another explorer. This was a beautiful night with snow lying all around. We made it inside, and had free run of the entire place - aside from the recreation hall. Even into Admin, which still held the plaque dedicated to HMS Niobe as noted in this 2012 article...

"Ravenscraig Hospital, which is due to close, was known in the early days as the 'Palace in the Kip Valley'.

The foundation stone for what was originally Smithston Poorhouse and Asylum was laid in September 1876. The ceremony was carried out with full Masonic honours by the Earl of Mar and Kellie, who was Depute Grand Master of Scotland. It had been originally planned that Sir Michael Shaw Stewart, Grand Master Mason and Lord Lieutenant of the County, would undertake the duty, but he was indisposed.

There was public resentment at the building of such a grand establishment and this is why detractors referred to it as the 'Palace in the Kip Valley'. While there was no argument that the existing poorhouse in Captain Street was inadequate, many believed the Smithston scheme went far beyond the needs of its future occupants. The majority of ratepayers were angry because they would have to foot the �100,000 bill.

Criticisms aside, the day of the foundation stone ceremony was one of great celebration. It was made a public holiday and bands and processions marched through the town. There were speeches galore and the inmates of Captain Street Poorhouse received a substantial dinner of roast beef and plum pudding.

When Smithston Poorhouse and Asylum opened in 1879, it was out in the countryside with not a house within miles of it. During the First World War, part of the establishment became a military hospital for wounded servicemen invalided home from France and Belgium. Secrecy surrounded the arrival of the wounded. Fleets of St Andrew's ambulances gathered at Princes Pier station in the early hours of the morning to convey patients to the Smithston.

During the Second World War, the building was taken over by the Canadian Navy for use as a 'stone frigate' called HMCS Niobe. Young ladies from Greenock became friendly with the visitors, and at the end of the war many went off with their Canadian husbands for a new life on the other side of Atlantic.

The creation of the National Health Service in 1948 led to a complete change in the administration of the institution, which was renamed Ravenscraig Hospital."

Unfortunately my battery was almost dead in the camera, so I have no internal photos from that night. A few externals will have to suffice.

Looking at Admin from the rear

ALong the back of the corridor I had to run from the first time.

And one peek inside the main door - how nice was this place.

A great night was had but not many photos sadly. We kept an eye on the site numerous times, but when it closed fully, there were security guards inside for a number of years, before they were removed, and replaced by a sensor activated camera system on the outer perimeter. SOOOOOO, we move on to 2018. Finally - the place was unguarded. We went straight in twice in a few days.

I shall now let the photos do tha talking as it was a breeze this tim around after so many tough times here.


House on Haunted Hill

The Recreation Hall I missed first time around

Disappointing that admin had now become this mess


A few little nuggets remained

Kitchen Storage Area

Oh yeah - that vending machine I mentioned ::D

Rear Corridor in the sun

Remember that old kitchen I dropped into .... here it is

The dentist chair a decade later

That old ward - a decade later

And for reference - that old photo again

And the trolley back then.....

Beautiful decay

See that skylig

Recreation Hall Entrance

Side Entrance Reception

Staff Dining Room

External of the ambulance bay

And one last one - an image of an old drawing of the place



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Apr 16, 2008
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Well we never really had any luck here got chased twice and soaked a few times for mould scattergun. PREFER THE SMELL OF disinfectant and a shiny floor lol. Getting in and see the place was fun though


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Apr 7, 2012
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Darkest Struan
Probably one of the best places I've seen in a while simply because it had pretty much everything; poorhouse, asylum and military hospital with a long, varied history, largely either older or original externally with outbuildings and brick boilerhouse chimney in place, a surprising amount of unaltered interior, quintessentially imposing Baronial facade... What's not to like. It might have been a shithole inside by the end but if you like textures, colours and decay it was a photographers dream. Plus the hall. I like a hall. One place I made more attempts on than I could count over the years.

The squeaky clean fresh stuff is about the adrenaline rush. Craigy on the other hand was the ideal chilled Saturday morning job.


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Jun 7, 2014
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Thats excellent that, good perseverance but amazing how much its deteriorated!


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Nov 9, 2006
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Severalls Hospital
Great Report and photos!
Can remember visiting here back in 2002.
Will see if I can dig out some piccies to share here :)

Vertigo Rod

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Dec 8, 2015
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South Wales
Fantastic report & great photos - really enjoyed that.... plus 10/10 for persistence over the years - you got there in the end!!!


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Sep 12, 2015
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Great stuff mate, I tried this one a while back with no joy so nice to see inside. I’d completely forgotten it even existed haha!