Dr Gray’s Hospital, the third oldest existing hospital in the Grampian area, takes its name from Elgin-born Alexander Gray, who spent over 20 years of his life in Bengal as a surgeon for the East India Company.
Like others in the Company, he was able to take advantage of local trading opportunities to amass a considerable personal fortune.
Gray died in India in 1807 and bequeathed the bulk of his money to his native town for various charitable purposes, including the sum of £20,000 "for the establishment of a hospital in the town of Elgin for the sick and the poor of the town and county of Murray (Moray)".
Gray’s heirs contested the will and for seven years legal proceedings delayed any further progress but in 1814, the Court of Chancery finally declared that the will should stand.
A site for the hospital - "a field immediately West of the Town of Elgin" - was purchased and the foundation stone was laid on 11 July 1815.
The 30-bed hospital, which was designed by James Gillespie Graham, an Edinburgh architect recommended by the Earl of Moray, opened to patients on 1 January 1819.
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