More than 60 years of Marie Curie Hospices

Marie Curie Home at the Hill of Tarvit, Fife

Marie Curie Hospices are 62 years old this month – in that time they’ve helped many thousands of terminally ill people and their families.
Our hospices used to be known as Marie Curie Homes – the first, Hill of Tarvit at Cupar, Fife (right), opened in December 1952. This property, belonging to the National Trust for Scotland, was leased to Marie Curie at a nominal rent.

Converted buildings

The ground floor apartments, housing a unique collection of furniture, paintings and porcelain bequeathed to the Trust in 1949 by the late Miss Elisabeth Sharp, remained open to the public. Over the next 12 years, nine more Marie Curie Homes opened, from Tiverton in 1953 to Solihull in 1965. They were all housed in converted buildings – including a prep school, a railwayman’s convalescent home, a police orphanage and several mansions. In the 1960s, Marie Curie decided that all future Homes, or Hospices, would be purpose-built buildings, rather than older converted properties, to make sure they could deliver care of the highest standard. The first purpose-built Marie Curie Home, in Belfast, opened in 1965, to be followed in 1966 by a further Home in Edinburgh.

Purpose-built hospices

Now we have nine purpose-built hospices around the UK, caring for around 8,900 people, and their families, each year. And the Hill of Tarvit, where it all began? The Marie Curie Home there closed in 1977, partly due to its remote location making it no longer viable as a care facility. The building is still owned by the National Trust for Scotland, and visitors can wander around the grounds, soak up the Edwardian splendour and enjoy croquet on the lawn, unaware of its key role in Marie Curie’s history and the care of thousands of terminally ill people. Find out more about our hospices or more about how hospices can help people.