The Dundee Lunatic Asylum was established as part of the Dundee
Infirmary and supported by voluntary contributions from c.1810. The foundation stone
of the new asylum was laid on 3rd September 1812. The Asylum was officially opened in
April 1820, when three patients were admitted. It was erected to the design of William
Clark and was later extended by the Architect, William Burns.
In 1819 the Dundee Lunatic Asylum was erected into a Body Corporate and Politic by
an Act of George III as part of the Dundee Royal Infirmary and Asylum and in 1820 it was
formally established as a separate entity - the Dundee Lunatic Asylum - in premises in
Albert Street, Dundee. In 1875 it received a Royal Charter from Queen Victoria and became
the Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum.
In 1874 the Directors purchased land at Westgreen Farm, a pleasant and healthy site,
near the parish of Liff and Benvie, for the purpose of building a new asylum. The foundation
stone for the new asylum was laid on 17th September 1879 and patients were transferred there
by October 1882. The building of Gowrie House began in January 1899 to the south of the main
building of Westgreen, for the accommodation of around 60 private patients.
In 1903 Westgreen Asylum was sold to Dundee District Lunacy Board and was thereafter called
the Dundee District Asylum, but Gowrie House continued to be operated by the trustees as the
Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum. Operations of the Royal Asylum were transferred to the National
Health Service in 1948 and administered by the Dundee Mental Hospitals Board of Management, under
the jurisdiction of the Eastern Regional Hospital Board. In 1959 the District Asylum (Westgreen)
and the Royal Asylum (Gowrie House) were amalgamated, along with the psychiatric wards at Maryfield
Hospital to form the Dundee Royal Mental Hospital.
In 1963 the Dundee Mental Hospitals Board of Management became known as the Dundee Northern
Hospitals Board of Management and the Dundee Mental Hospital was to be henceforth known as the
Royal Dundee Liff Hospital.
On 1st April 1974 the new Tayside Health Board assumed the functions of all other Hospital
Management Boards in Tayside. In 1992 Royal Dundee Liff Hospital became part of the Dundee Health
Care (NHS) Trust. In 1999 the three non acute Trusts in Tayside (Dundee, Angus and Perth) amalgamated
to form the Tayside Primary Care Trust.
A new psychiatric unit was opened in 2001 in the grounds of Ninewells Hospital to allow for the
closure of the main building at Liff (formerly Westgreen, then Centre Division and finally Greystanes
House), which closed in December 2001.
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