Ancestry UK

Lady Jane Ogilvy Orphanage, Dundee, Angus, Scotland

The Lady Jane Ogilvy Orphanage (also referred to as the Baldovan Orphanage and Asylum for Idiot Children) was established in 1853 at Baldovan Road, Baldovan, near Dundee, Forfar. It was run in association with the Episcopal Church for the education and support of female orphans and other destitute girls, with special provision for those suffering from severe intellectual impairment — what were then usually referred to as 'idiots' and 'imbeciles'.

The institution received considerable financial help from Sir John Ogilvy of Inverquharity, a leading figure in the Freemasons, and his wife Jane, after whom the orphanage was named. The building was erected on Sir John's Baldovan estate, about for miles from Dundee. It was designed by Messrs. Coe and Goodwin, of London. The official opening took place on January 6th, 1855.

The front of the premises comprise the matron's apartments, a large gymnasium, and classrooms for each sex. At the rear were dining-rooms, lavatories, dining-room and kitchen. The upper floor contained four large dormitories and six smaller bedrooms for boarders, bathrooms, and bedrooms for the matron and domestic servants. The half-timbered building was constructed of rubble stone, with Caen stone dressings, the roof being covered with red and black plain tiles. Over the foundation stone was placed a brass plate, with the following inscription:

The Foundation Stone of this Building, erected by Sir John and Lady Jane Ogilvy, as an Asylum for the Treatment of Defective Children, was laid on the 7th day of July, 1853, by the Grand Lodge of Scotland: John Whyte Melville, Esq., of Bennochy, Deputy Grand Master Mason officiating, assisted by all the Lodges in Dundee. Architects: Messrs. Coe and Goodwin, London. Builders: Charles and Alexander Cunningham of this parish.

Lady Jane Ogilvy Orphanage, Dundee, c.1853.

The building was later considerably extended as can be seen in the picture below from around 1905.

Lady Jane Ogilvy Orphanage, Dundee, c.1905. © Peter Higginbotham

The institution is believed to have closed at around the time of the First World War.

The orphanage buildings no longer survive except for the entrance lodge.


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  • None identfied at present — any information welcome.


  • None identified at present.