PLAQUES of ‘huge historical significance’ have been salvaged from Ravenscraig Hospital before it is demolished.

Local councillors and residents joined forces to save a commemorative stone presented by Canadian Armed Forces to mark the use of the old hospital as a base for their Navy during the Second World War.

It was saved from the entrance hall of the doomed building, along with the foundation stone marking the opening of the former Smithston Poorhouse in 1876.

They are now safely rehoused at the Inverclyde Heritage Hub and displayed along with other artefacts celebrating the area’s social history.

Councillor Jim Clocherty said: “I was contacted by residents who were concerned about the plaque as it is of huge historical significance.

“I then got in touch with the health board to make sure that both plaques were saved from the building.”

Ravenscraig Hospital was used by the Canadian Navy from 1941 to 1946 and was known has HMCS Niobe, after their country’s first ever warship.

It was home to thousands of Canadian servicemen passing through the area.

The plaque was presented to the hospital by the Maritime Commander of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1990.

Ravenscraig Hospital was originally built as a poorhouse and then used by the French and Belgium forces as a military hospital for wounded servicemen during the First World War.

Inverclyde Heritage Hub social history curator Vincent Gillen said: “These plaques are very important.

“Ravenscraig was one of the most significant buildings in the area.”

Earlier this month the planning board granted the health board permission to knock down Ravenscraig.

A number of members of the planning board spoke out against the demolition of the historic building.

One of them, Councillor John Crowther, raised concerns about the plaques after being contacted by constituents.

He added: “I am pleased that they are at the hub.

“I would like to see more made of the links with the Canadians.

“I think in the future the plaques could be located somewhere that is visible to visitors.”

The older section of Ravenscraig Hospital closed down 10 years ago and the last patients left the remaining Corlic and Dunrod units left earlier this year.

They have now been rehoused in a new unit, Orchard View, on the site of the former nursing block at the IRH.

The land is set to be redeveloped with plans by Link Housing to build 150 new social houses.

An NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Health board spokeswoman said: “There were two plaques of significant historical importance situated within the hospital and we ensured that these were carefully removed before demolition to allow them to be re-sited in an appropriate location.”