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Montrose, Hillside, Sunnyside Royal Hospital Main Building

Hospital (19th Century)

Site Name Montrose, Hillside, Sunnyside Royal Hospital Main Building

Classification Hospital (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Hillside, Montrose Royal Mental Hospital; Royal Lunatic Asylum

Canmore ID 107583

Site Number NO76SW 58

NGR NO 70780 61736

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Angus
  • Parish Montrose
  • Former Region Tayside
  • Former District Angus
  • Former County Angus

Archaeology Notes

NO76SW 58.00 70780 61736

NO76SW 58.01 NO 70973 61784 Carnegie House

The hospital and surrounding area is visible on a RAF WW II oblique aerial photograph (No.1 CAM, 11682, flown 14 April 1943), viewed from the E.

Information from RCAHMS (DE), September 2005

Site Management (12 August 2009)

Large E plan Jacobean with long S. frontage of 24 mullioned windows, 3-storey and basement; centre, ends and sub- centres advanced. Twisted chimneys. Dated 1857, with later additions (Historic Environment Scotland List Entry).

Sunnyside Royal Hospital, was built in 1855-7 on a hillside site 6km north of Montrose to replace the old Royal Asylum in the town. The new site was further developed in 1888-91 when a hospital block, designed by the architects, Sydney Mitchell & Wilson, was built to the north-west of the main building, and a large villa, Carnegie Lodge, was added to house private patients. Another two villas, Howden Villa and North Esk Villa, were built in the early 1900s to provide accommodation for pauper patients, and a nurses' home was constructed in 1935.

The Royal Asylum of Montrose was founded in 1781 by Mrs Susan Carnegie of Charlton for the treatment of private and pauper lunatics, and was the first purpose-built psychiatric institute in Scotland. Prior to this, insane patients had been housed in the Old Tolbooth in the High Street. In 1858 the asylum was transferred to Moffatt's new building on the lands of a farm at Sunnyside. The new building cost £27,513, and was built in the Jacobean style Moffatt often adopted. When the lease of the farmlands expired in 1911, 52 acres were purchased for the hospital at a cost of £4,500. (RCAHMS)


Publication Account (1978)

The first lunatic asylum opened in Scotland was built in 1781 on the links near Montrose.

Information from ‘Historic Montrose: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1978).

Field Visit (25 April 2013)

NO 70721 61654 A desk-based assessment and walkover survey were undertaken on 25 April 2013 of Sunnyside Hospital. The work was designed to compliment a conservation plan being produced by Simpson and Brown Architects. Sunnyside Hospital has its origins in the foundation of the Montrose Lunatic Asylum and Dispensary in 1781, which was located in Montrose. In 1858 the hospital moved to a purpose built site on Sunnyside Farm to the NW of the town. Overcrowding led to continued expansion, with the completion of Carnegie House in 1899 and further development during the early to mid-20th century. The hospital came under NHS control in 1946 and in the late 20th century underwent a series of phased closures, culminating in the final closure of the site to patients in 2011. No archaeological sites of note were recorded during the preliminary research or the walkover survey.

Archive: Aberdeenshire Council HER and RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Jones Lang LaSalle

Ross Cameron, Addyman Archaeology, 2013

(Source: DES)

Project (February 2014 - July 2014)

A data upgrade project to record war memorials.


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