Sunnyside Estate

(Sunnyside Royal Hospital)

A housing development, parkland estate and former psychiatric hospital in Hillside, 2½ miles (4 km) north northwest of Montrose in Angus, the Sunnyside Estate began as the Montrose Lunatic Asylum & Infirmary, the first public asylum in Scotland and one of the first in the World, founded at the insistence of Susan Carnegie (1743 - 1821), who strongly believed in the humane and science-based treatment of mental illness. The hospital gained its royal charter in 1810 becoming the Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum. It moved to this site in 1857, with the opening of the main building designed by the Edinburgh-based architect William L. Moffatt (1807-82). This was built in the Jacobean style, of coursed rubble with fine ashlar detailing. It was extended to the rear in 1877 with the addition of a new recreation hall, dining room and kitchen. Further buildings were added to the site over the years, including further grand ward blocks, a nurses' home, workshops and a chapel, and the area of the estate was expanded in 1911. In 1948 it became part of the National Health Service and was renamed the Royal Mental Hospital of Montrose and was renamed Sunnyside Royal Hospital in 1962. Many of the buildings are now B-listed.

The father of the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 - 1930) was a patient at this asylum. This was the location for an early experiment in wind power. The Glasgow-based engineer Prof. James Blyth (1839 - 1906) designed a wind turbine that began operating here in 1895, which provided electricity to the hospital until it was dismantled in 1914 on the eve of the First World War. A war memorial commemorating the eight hospital staff who died on active service during the First World War was erected in 1919.

Sunnyside Psychiatric Museum was once located within the grounds. This illustrated psychiatric care in Scotland and exhibits included lantern slides, nursing attire, straight jackets, patient's craftwork and Victorian paintings. Closed since 2001, most of the exhibits were moved to local museums in Montrose and Dundee.

The hospital closed in 2012, with the majority of patients returned to care in the community and the remainder accommodated in the new Susan Carnegie Centre at Stracathro Hospital, 5 miles (8 km) to the northwest. The site sold for housing in 2016, with the intention to convert the listed buildings to flats.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better