Ravenscraig Hospital was built in 1876 as a Poorhouse and Asylum but was then called Smithston after the land it was built on. Its previous incarnation was a poorhouse with lunatic wards built in Captain Street in 1850. It was not the first institution of its kind in Greenock. In 1831 Fancy Farm, Inverkip Road was leased to the parochial authorities as a lunatic asylum with provision for 18 inmates. In 1840 the inmates were transferred to Hillend and in 1845, after passing of the Poor Law (Scotland) Act, it was used as an experimental poorhouse with room for 40 inmates. In 1850 a house with accommodation for 300 persons opened in Captain Street at a cost of £5,300 with lunatic wards being added at an outlay of £2,200. The property was later sold to the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company for £10,000.
Due to the increasing state of decay of this property the parochial authorities decided to build a new institution on the lands of Smithston. The foundation stone was laid in September 1876 with full Masonic honours by the Earl of Mar and Kellie, Depute Grand Master of Scotland. The building was officially opened in March 1879 amidst a public outcry at the construction cost of £122,904. The asylum and poorhouse then had accommodation for 750 inmates.
In March 1915, the normal running of the institution was disrupted when part of the hospital was emptied and handed over to the military authorities as a service hospital to be used for patients wounded in and invalided home from France and Belgium. The military authorities pulled out in April 1919. During the Second World War the hospital was requisitioned by the Admiralty and the patients were transferred to Dykebar, Gartloch, Larbert and Cuninghame Home Hospitals. The hospital became a stone frigate, called HMCS Niobe, for the Canadian Navy. In 1947 the hospital was reoccupied by the Local Authority and the patients were moved back in.
In 1948, with the inception of the National Health Service, the hospital came under the care of the Board of Management for Dykebar and Associated Hospitals and its name changed to Ravenscraig. After this date numerous improvements were made to the buildings and facilities including the opening of an Occupational Therapy department in 1951 and the establishment of out-patient clinics at Wellpark. Shortly after this Dr Haig Mitchell was responsible for implementing a day patient service which was the first of its kind in Scotland.
In the 1960s two new 120-bedded units, Corlic and Dunrod were built for long-term patients. The hospital was transferred to the administrative control of the Board of Management for Greenock and District Hospitals in 1969. With the reorganisation of the NHS in 1974 the hospital was administered by the Inverclyde District of Argyll and Clyde Health Board. The original buildings closed in December 2005.