In July 2020, Hospitalfield House in Arbroath was the first project to be approved by the Tay Cities Joint Committee. The inaugural project will receive £5.5m funding from Scottish Government (subject to the deal being signed) and bring with it £5.5m of complementary match funding.
Hospitalfield House is an artist’s house, located on one of Scotland’s most significant historic sites on the east coast of Scotland. The artist Patrick Allan-Fraser created the house sometime between 1843 and 1890. It is now widely regarded as one of Scotland’s most valued arts and crafts houses.
The name of the site comes from earlier usage of the site in the 13th century as a hostel or hospital that greeted pilgrims making their journey to Arbroath Abbey.
The outstanding collections within Hospitalfield include 19th-century paintings, drawings and sculpture, and works on paper. On his death in 1890, Allan-Fraser bequeathed his estate in trust to support artists. Hospitalfield became one of Scotland’s first art colleges, making a significant contribution to the story of 20th-century Scottish art.
The project will enable this story to continue into the 21st century. It will enable Hospitalfield’s extraordinary heritage – currently at considerable risk – to be fully restored and accessible to the public. There are plans to restore and add to the residential, studio and visitor facilities at Hospitalfield. This will create a world-class cultural facility that is financially sustainable and able to make a significant, long-term impact on the local, regional and national economies.
The five-year capital investment programme will be delivered in three phases:
Phase 1 – Accommodation, Artist Studios and the Garden, Fernery and Café
The first phase of the project includes the restoration of existing accommodation and the creation of new visitor accommodation. This phase also includes the restoration of the historic 19th and 20th-century artist studios, plus the development of a new digital studio. The 19th-century glazed fernery and walled gardens will be restored, and a new glasshouse café created in the south-facing corner of the walled gardens.
Phase 2 – Mortuary Chapel
This phase will see the restoration of the remarkable Mortuary Chapel building, which will enable it to be open and accessible to the public.
Phase 3 – The House, the Visitor Experience and the Collections
This phase will involve the restoration of the house and heritage collections alongside the development of a new reception building, study centre, shop and gallery exhibition space.