Sunnyside Royal Hospital

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Sunnyside Royal Hospital
Established 1781
Opened 1858 (2nd Location)
Closed 2011
Current Status Closed
Building Style Corridor Plan
Architect(s) Sydney Mitchell & Willson
William Kelly (1895 Extensions)
Location Montrose, Angus, Scotland
Alternate Names
  • Montrose Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary & Dispensary
  • Royal Asylum of Montrose
  • Royal Mental Hospital of Montrose


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.

In 1948, the National Health Service 1946 (Scotland) Act brought the hospital under control of the Eastern Regional Hospital Board. Its name was changed from the Royal Asylum of Montrose to the Royal Mental Hospital of Montrose. In 1962 it became Sunnyside Royal Hospital and came under the jurisdiction of new management. During the 1950s and 1960s, the introduction of new drugs lessened the need for prolonged admission of patients. In addition, the Mental Health (Scotland) Act of 1960 also significantly altered legislation in respect of mental illness and reduced the grounds on which someone could be detained in a mental hospital. Currently Tayside Primary Care Trust has proposed a phased closure of much of the site.

The site was officially closed in late 2011 and most patients were sent to a new £20 million built at Stracathro Hospital, (also in Angus). Others were placed in the community. Sunnyside was open for 230 years before it closure, and was the oldest psychiatric hospital in Scotland.