Royal Sunnyside Hospital Sept '17

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Apr 1, 2012
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(Blatantly ripped from Wiki as short on time and laptop prob gona crash again)

Some Sunnyside history...

Sunnyside Royal Hospital was a psychiatric hospital located in Montrose, Scotland. The hospital was founded in 1781 by Susan Carnegie as the Montrose Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary & Dispensary and obtained a Royal Charter in 1810.

In 1834, the Governors of the asylum, carrying out the wishes of Mrs Carnegie (who had strongly advocated the appointment of a medical specialist in insanity) appointed the phrenologist (a person that uses a pseudo medicine based on the belief that mental faculties and character traits are indicated by the configurations of their skull, its shape and size etc...I knew someone that had an unusually large head but their brain was very small, hence blowing that theory out the water) William A.F. Brown as medical superintendent.

Browne was to prove an inspired choice and an energetic and resourceful leader. He regarded public education as part of his duties, and gave a series of lectures which became enormously popular and influential. In 1837, five lectures were published together under the title “What Asylums Were, Are and Ought To Be”; this book came to the attention of the Dumfries philanthropist Elizabeth Crichton. She travelled to Montrose, interviewed Browne and offered him the equivalent post at the Crichton Royal in Dumfries. Crichton offered Browne a raise from £150 to £350 per annum. Browne was succeeded at Montrose by Richard Poole, an early psychiatric historian, and, later, by Dr James Howden, who identified cases of pellagra in the asylum.

In 1858, a new improved asylum was completed to the north of Montrose in the village of Hillside on lands of the farm of Sunnyside and the old site was vacated. This site was further developed with the construction of a new facility for private patients called Carnegie House in 1899. Despite this addition, overcrowding was a problem, as the asylum's patient numbers had grown to 670 by 1900. This situation required additional building work to be undertaken. Consequently, two new buildings - Howden Villa (1901) and Northesk Villa (1904)- were added to the facility. Additional staff were required to care for the additional patients and the Westmount Cottages were built in 1905 to house them. In 1911 the lease of Sunnyside Farm finally expired and over 52 acres were purchased for the sum of £4500. A further development was the addition of Angus House, which was built in 1939 to accommodate elderly patients suffering from dementia.

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.
The archives of the hospital are held by Archive Services, University of Dundee as part of the NHS Tayside archive.

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

Sunnyside has been sold by the NHS and is currently awaiting redevelopment. Some of the outbuildings and less aesthetically pleasing buildings will be demolished but the main building will thankfully be retained.

The explore...

I have wanted to explore this beautiful building for over five years, but I never really thought I’d get the chance to be honest. I have seen some amazing images of the place and each time I saw more photographs of it I yearned to see it all the more. I had never been to Scotland before and a 1,000 mile round trip kind of put me off a bit, especially as I’d read reports of so many failed attempts and instant captures... my heart was definitely up for the trip, but could my little motor handle the distance without a service for over 50,000 miles or my head handle a failure:hopelessness:

My good mate Dez was going up to Scotland for a “normal family holiday with his missus and kids,” so I politely mentioned to him that I never wanted to hear from him again, ever, unless he did a full recce of the spectacular Sunnyside for me. I gave him a strict brief; film every bloody door and window, walk around the perimeter...twice... then do it again, get every dam angle on the place, I needed a virtual tour, I warned him, “Don’t be giving me no noisey, shaky blurred bulshit, your not doin a youtube vid now, I need clarity, I need to know what’s goin on, sort it...please”:encouragement:. He’s shown me pic’s from fb that others had put up on Sunnyside, now it was HIS time... he was to stop winding me up and do something f00kin useful!!!

Well, to my utter astonishment, total disbelieve and sheer flabbergastedness I got a Whatsapp vid the next morning of Dez and his son Jack waltzin about the site and floating through an open window, hovering up a staircase and drifting into one of the corridors. WTF??? This was only meant to be a recce!!! How was this possible??? I was more confused than usual. Was this real? Had he faked it? Could he be sooo cruel??? I didn’t understand wtf was going on, there was no helpline that could possibly explain this, my phone had come apart from my intense grip, the back had come off and the battery had dropped out, my heart was racing me head was a mess, it had gone too far...I just had to get there, like NOW!!! But first I had to wind up a few others that I knew wanted to go too I’m not mean lol the few folks that have been silly enough to give me their numbers I txt them the access details...then byeee I’m off to Scotland!:onthego::onthego::onthego:

After a mediocre 9hr drive, stopping just the once to have a quick caffeine fix and 40 roll ups I was there! The moment I had been nervously cherishing had finally arrived! I had waited five years for this!

By now it was 6pm and the sun was just setting to the rear of the ominous main building. It’s glorious stone was in shade, I took a few shots and looked for the way in. The access from the video had now been sealed, I NEEDED to find a new way in, and to my surprise and relief I did. But it was too late for any shots now, the light had gone, so I headed back to my car to crash out for the night. I was so overwhelmed thinking about the next morning, that I had actually forgotten that I had booked a B&B for my first night, yup, I was trying to put out the thoughts from my head of waking up two inches shorter and with several fused vertebrae from kipping in my KA, which has become standard practice for me, that I neglected to realise I had booked a comfy bed 10 miles down the west coast. So off I flew, ooOoo a B&B, I’ve never experienced such urbex luxury, now I had booked meself into me own little room, I was starting to feel like a grown up now:confused:

2am the fire alarm rang out...I woke up, didn’t know where the f00k I was, fumbled around for the light switch whilst trying to get dressed, grabbed me camera, then made my way outside onto the wet pavement. I was the only [email protected]%t there. Nobody else could be arsed to leave their rooms. Then the owner came jogging along from the house up the road...”Someone’s been bloody smoking in their rooms again” he kinda laughed but looked pissed. I stood there with my trousers on inside out trying to smoke a wet roll up, I was knackered and could have done without this shit...but then I thought to myself, hey wtf, I’m off to Sunnyside in the morning, then everything suddenly felt good:cheerful:

Thanks Dez for your video, as without watching it I probably wouldn’t have made the effort to have ventured the mission through fear of failure:applause:

There are quite a lot of pic’s here, but I am very passionate about this place, and they will just end up sitting on my external hard drive and that’s a very gloomy place to be:cry:

So I hope you enjoy lookin at Scotland’s finest asylum...

The very impressive main building

39383186852_026df48d24_b.jpg sunnyside 2 099 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

Some of the wards and corridors...

39413323151_6a044563f3_b.jpg sunnyside 1 398 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534953585_6b42a8c087_b.jpg sunnyside 1 470 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534953215_6324bbe717_b.jpg sunnyside 1 506 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534952605_072bc12d26_b.jpg sunnyside 1 604 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534916345_aab71da239_b.jpg sunnyside 1 640 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39413321121_4d2203822e_b.jpg sunnyside 1 672 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39413320691_59de6eac3c_b.jpg sunnyside 1 888 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

24547227607_458cfbe6d4_b.jpg sunnyside 1 922 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

24547227007_b926f90b67_b.jpg sunnyside 1 985 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

27635891689_7751e170c2_b.jpg sunnyside 1 992 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534940385_0bb1a571b6_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1348 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

I noticed that all of the clocks within the main building stopped at around 11.10

39383207112_6f956c12b0_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1416 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39383206092_80a9d917cd_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1426 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534937995_43a138898e_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1440 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543195628_5c2e18415a_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1723 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

The hairdressers

38705047104_11e265f91c_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1715 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543194908_5bef7b5699_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1737 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39383177082_12704c0fff_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1763 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

This “puzzle wheelchair” came with no instructions or fixtures, so took me about 10 minutes to reassemble and “balance” in the correct way. If I had sneezed it would have blown apart.

25543193538_7eec116ae4_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1747 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543192478_ca5ee35760_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1811 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543191908_9f0983d134_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1855 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543191478_2ea08b02e1_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1868 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

24547211527_9bab53b529_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1906 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543190178_e8b43cf8c4_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1923 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

24547209997_4d0a32888b_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1992 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543189428_822601ca13_b.jpg sunnyside 1 2014 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543186358_dceef9c7a6_b.jpg sunnyside 2 224 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543185918_64b24ec1c7_b.jpg sunnyside 2 239 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

When I look at this shot now I can have a little laugh about it, but it wasn’t so funny at the time! I was trying to get the camera to see what my eye could see...I wanted that little silver door knob reflected three times in the broken mirror fragments, (ok, don’t ask me why, nufink makes much sense to me anymore) so I could see this easily this, but getting the lens to view it this way was a total nightmare lol. I was adjusting the tripod and head literally in millimetres at a time, for well over 10 minutes, yeah longer than the wheelchair puzzle. I had finally got it right, when crash! The door flung open and 3 lads steamed in on their phones talkin shite...I looked around, I was proper pissed, I think they could tell hahaha...before I could say anything they had gone. I hadn’t seen anyone for the first 4hrs in there it was lovely, then the place got busy, bumped into a couple of decent local lads, but mainly twats, English twats I’m ashamed to say, gutted the locals didn’t catch up with them as I’m sure they wuda stopped smashing the windows and kicking the doors in that I could hear getting trashed from a distance.

25543185218_d96bc0aaea_b.jpg sunnyside 2 252 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543184548_07b13b2532_b.jpg sunnyside 2 264 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39383182502_a54b8824fa_b.jpg sunnyside 2 279 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39383181382_ef1f485a51_b.jpg sunnyside 2 358 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

I didn’t think I should put the same pigeon shot in Mikeymutt

39383180672_d3b59926d5_b.jpg sunnyside 2 365 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39383180022_5e5b0f71ab_b.jpg sunnyside 2 378 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39383179452_6b2f357867_b.jpg sunnyside 2 390 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39413290871_64da0cdd89_b.jpg sunnyside 2 394 by
Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

One of the workshops...

24547215547_413e5459e0_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1689 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

24547216337_ab11741252_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1628 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38705048394_b26217feee_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1599 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

If you looked up inside that little door, it is a really tight squeeze, but there is an internal ladder running up the inside of the flue. The hole you can climb up is much narrower than the width of the chimney so it’s rather deceiving, it would be a tight squeeze for the slimmest of people. When I was outside getting some externals I saw some dude standing on the top of the chimney and when I realised how he had got up there it freaked me out a bit:eek:

24547217527_7880f5481a_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1592 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543186988_3c06e1e9ca_b.jpg sunnyside 2 144 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

24547218077_b7c7f877b7_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1574 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

24547218567_a001eb158c_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1542 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39383202622_836f176d26_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1516 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534936495_be7c4b95c8_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1489 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

Into the amazing hall...

39413316891_e50f2f99b6_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1130 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543214158_207eeb92a1_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1136 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534948245_44bb9934cc_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1071 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

27635890769_522471a023_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1057 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534945565_90f6642308_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1160 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38705053144_95ba61acdd_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1190 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

My neck still hurts from getting this shot as my camera’s LCD isn’t articulated, my live view is too unreliable at focusing and I couldn’t lie on the floor as it was covered in pigeon shit

24547221837_5d35d6d00e_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1311 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

Where the hospital radio was located

25543211418_bb7c3747e6_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1205 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38534942825_0f70ec2bc8_b.jpg sunnyside 1 1208 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

Mortuary and Chapel of Rest

27635900059_5e95e2eb31_b.jpg sunnyside 1 197 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543188818_69b34a871c_b.jpg sunnyside 2 026 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

25543188278_9e18e13d0f_b.jpg sunnyside 2 036 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

39413323821_bd9e50b261_b.jpg sunnyside 1 207 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

The Chapel

39383178052_d42ebbe9c8_b.jpg sunnyside 2 438 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

38705026084_a1acfd1daf_b.jpg sunnyside 2 444 by Pretty Vacant, on Flickr

I hope you have enjoyed looking at this wonderful place, I loved every minute of it there and would jump at the chance of a revisit:excitement:

Well this is my final post of the year folks, thanks everyone for your comments over the last 12 months, I really appreciate any feedback, I’m not a snowflake, so just say what you think:beaten:

Happy New Year to explorer’s everywhere, be lucky and stay safe in 2018

Catch up laters...byeeee:excitement:


New member
Dec 29, 2017
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I love this, old hospitals like this were built so well, and this really shows in the photos. It is such a shame they're not looked after as heritage rather than being turned into stupid flats...
I love these photos, they capture a real spirit to the place.

This has now been added to my wishlist, alongside St Joseph's in Upholland - which is a bit further from me... But still a boy can dream.
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Dec 7, 2014
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Absolutely stunning! This is a rare beast, aren't many asylums/hospitals like this left. Your composures are spot on too, really make for fantastic images!


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Sep 12, 2015
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Finally!!! Well worth the wait! Absoluelty stunning report and pics, nice to see some different bit and different angles too. You did a damn fine job of covering the place, and I am absolutely not jealous at all! :D


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Oct 14, 2013
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You came away with some lovely shots from there pv.i can see where your excitement was coming from for here.i was the same having wanting to see it for a while.its such a beautiful building ain't it.i loved every min in there and wished we had longer.i missed the workshops which I was quite sad about as they look nice


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Nov 28, 2016
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Fantastic report and pics there PV71. All ways good to see this place.
Defo going to have a crack at this one in 2018.


Well-known member
Jan 21, 2018
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Very local to me :D Absolute nightmare to get access now, well secured and security are on point. Great images, will be trying me god dammed hardest to get in there this year.

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