The Montrose Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary and Dispensary was founded
in 1781 by Mrs. Susan Carnegie of Charleton for the treatment of private and pauper patients.
The first mental hospital in Scotland, it was built on the Montrose Links on a site bounded
by Barrack Road, Ferry Road and Garrison Road. Prior to this, insane patients were treated
in the Old Tolbooth in Montrose High Street.
A new improved Asylum with better facilities was completed in 1858, situated in lands of
the farm of Sunnyside, in the village of Hillside, on the outskirts of Montrose. It still
operates today as a hospital for the mentally ill. Recreation rooms in the main building, a
magnificent Victorian structure, are sometimes used for local functions.
Carnegie House was built for private patients in 1899. However overcrowding was still a
problem, with patient numbers reaching 670 by 1900, precipitating the need for further
accommodation. As a result, Howden Villa was completed in 1901 and Northesk Villa was
completed in 1904. Westmount Cottages were built in 1905 to house the extra staff required
to care for the additional patients. The lease of Sunnyside Farm expired in 1911 and over
52 acres were purchased for the sum of £4500. Angus House was built in 1939 to accommodate
elderly patients suffering from dementia.
The Montrose Lunatic Asylum was originally granted a Royal Charter in 1810. In 1913 the
Royal Charter was amended, after which it was renamed the Royal Asylum of Montrose and that
part of the Institution which consisted of the Infirmary and Dispensary was disjoined and received
its own Royal Charter. With the advent of the National Health Service in 1948, the Asylum was
renamed the Royal Mental Hospital of Montrose and came under the jurisdiction of the Eastern
Regional Hospital Board. It was again renamed in 1962, when it became Sunnyside Royal Hospital.
Sunnyside Royal Hospital celebrated its bicentenary in 1981, at which time the number of
patients was approximately 400.
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