Sunnyside Royal Hospital: Infirmary Building, Scotland - October 2017

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Brewtal

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This was the one. This was supposed to be the one.

After a 6am to 5pm brew day, I tried to get some sleep, didn't happen so threw my stuff in the car, said bye to H and the dogs and set off overnight stopping for a nap here and there. I eventually arrived at Sunnyside. Only to find a Pert Bruce van parked up. And two blokes sealing up every access point I knew of! I had a quick chat with them, they were really sound. Took my externals and went to my folks to crash out. I have been putting this place off for so long. My family knew it was going to close down even before it was announced. Finally get the finger out, just my luck!

My aunt is a very delusional schizophrenic and was a patient here. I have set foot inside here quite a few times when it was open. This place scared the hell out of me when I was younger. It was the local loony bin and like most places like this the name is used in a derogatory way. At high school it was a common insult that someone was going to end up in Sunnyside. But none of those idiots I grew up with have ever been inside.

One of my darkest memories from my younger years is witnessing my aunt cry her eyes out as my granny held on to her whilst biting her lip trying not to cry herself. She was screaming about how horrible the ECT was and that 100's spiders kept coming out of the walls in her room. That is a lot to take in when you are 12/13. I still get a shiver down my spine thinking about that, even typing it out.

Anyway, I came back a few times in the 5 days I was up, hoping some bored kids would make my life easier. I found a very small hole into one of the other buildings the day I arrived but as the place was being sealed I didn't risk it in case they had that in mind next. Even if I could've had 15 mins inside the main building, I just wanted to find the room we used to visit my aunt in. I can still remember exactly where it was. It's hard to describe why, it's just a room with so many powerful memories locked inside it. But no joy, so I settled for the one building. And it was a tight squeeze!

History:

"Sunnyside Royal Hospital was a psychiatric hospital located in Hillside, north of 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. The original building was situated on the Montrose Links on a site bounded by Barrack Road, Ferry Road and Garrison Road.

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 William A.F. Browne 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 traveled 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."

Despite not getting into the main building, I loved this one. The whole place was boarded up and pretty much pitch black. I really enjoyed tiptoeing around in the nearly perfectly silent darkness alone. The floors in here are some of the most dangerous I have navigated.

And would you believe it... blue skies!

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The door to the right is the one I have walked through many time before:

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And the infirmary building:

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This was my favourite part. I know a few of these names!

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Ah well... maybe next time!

Thanks for looking!
 

Electric

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I don't know how to put it, but great writeup Brewtal. Sounds like dark stuff. Hope you're OK.
 

krela

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Great report of a difficult place.

We still haven't figured out how to deal with difficult mental health problems. I work with people like your aunt every day.
 

Hugh Jorgan

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A nice report. I see that around the cellar and basement seems to be the older part of the hospital. Sunnyside used to be self-sufficient. There's a very detailed website called Memories of Sunnyside showing how the hospital used to look before dereliction. Here's the link to look at if you have a spare 20 minutes. Memories Of Sunnyside - Scotland's Oldest Asylum
 

Mikeymutt

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Glad you got to see some of it and what you did was nice.shame the facilities are shutting.they have shit a private local place here for being in a bad way but visiting a patient at the place I could not fault it.dont know were the governing body got that from
 

Pincheck

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Aye the infirmary was our place about 5 years ago had to bail from the other building when tripping the silent alarm .....first hint was the two torch lights coming towards us........ having to bail asap. There was a number of other interesting bits to see. The owners are getting really pissed at the number or people traipsing through the site so covering entry points in white anti climb paint. you just got to think out the box there. there will be other opera unities mate if one finest come along soon
 

Brewtal

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Aye the infirmary was our place about 5 years ago had to bail from the other building when tripping the silent alarm .....first hint was the two torch lights coming towards us........ having to bail asap. There was a number of other interesting bits to see. The owners are getting really pissed at the number or people traipsing through the site so covering entry points in white anti climb paint. you just got to think out the box there. there will be other opera unities mate if one finest come along soon

The manky window with everyone's names scraped on it - one of your pals names is on there! A couple of school mates of mine are there too! The guys I spoke to made an interesting point about it being the ghost hunters breaking in at night and folk talking pics weren't really the problem. People were unscrewing the boards so they are nailing them now but putting expanding foam around the frame first before so a crowbar is useless. I'm gonna be back up soon. Seems like they are throwing a lot of money and man power at it at last, taken a while but I'm glad in a way because I'd be in tears if this place went up, my aunt was well look after by the staff and know a lot of people who had family that worked there.
 

Ferox

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Great report that mate. I always like seeing stuff from here, looks cool :)
 

Scattergun

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Yeh I suspect the recent heave of activity may have persuaded the owners to pull the finger out, in all honesty I'd half expected the fire engulfed main block to have been on the news by now. Good for them for actually making an effort. It's a little bigger than my local nuthouse but they all seemed to have a similar reputation when you were a youngster. Good effort again, did you miss the dentistry? I see some helpful soul has taken the time to throw the body hoist out the mortuary window. That's determination.
 

Brewtal

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Yeh I suspect the recent heave of activity may have persuaded the owners to pull the finger out, in all honesty I'd half expected the fire engulfed main block to have been on the news by now. Good for them for actually making an effort. It's a little bigger than my local nuthouse but they all seemed to have a similar reputation when you were a youngster. Good effort again, did you miss the dentistry? I see some helpful soul has taken the time to throw the body hoist out the mortuary window. That's determination.

Yeah I missed dentistry! :( Pincheck told me where it was. The body hoist was actually over the other side of the main building from the mortuary!
 

RedX_unleashed

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You've done well Brewtal and I commend your bravery for going back to this place. The photo's are excellent and the backstory deeply touching. Thankyou for sharing.
 

Dirus_Strictus

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Great report of a difficult place. We still haven't figured out how to deal with difficult mental health problems. I work with people like your aunt every day.

You have my undying respect Krela! Having tried - sometimes on reflection rather poorly - to support my wife through nigh on 40 years of severe bouts of clinical depression; the 'if you can tick all the boxes on the pro-forma' then chuck the latest 'very expensive meds' at the patient, is expensive for the NHS, disturbing for the patient who has to suffer the side effects and worrying for loved ones and relatives who rarely see that return to 'normality', whatever that is! Sadly we do not fit very easily into boxes - unless it is the final one! In an ever increasing population, I doubt that there will ever be enough trained staff and money to alleviate to problem. Do not forget that that in the early years of this place's existence, the local Squire or monied classes could have their daughters - unmarried and pregnant by the blacksmith's elder son, incarcerated for life in one of these places! Old records make very uncomfortable reading in the cold light of day.
 

prettyvacant71

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Oh shit dude sorry I've not commented earlier, I thought I had and was just lookin thru sum older posts and noticed I hadn't! I know how badly you wanted to see this place too, and how much it means to you. I only wish you cuda made it shortly after I went but I know you had work in the way. Its no consolation but you have seen the part I didn't actually get any shots of!:beaten: I went into that bit but nearly fell thru the spongy floor and was already suffering from extreme fatigue then sum annoying iphone lot turned up shouting nonsense and my brain flipped, I had to get outa there and get sumfink to eat Id been on me feet all day. I'm gutted what I missed as the shot with the glass lampshades looks fantastic! I didn't see that suitcase on the grass either lol
You captured the part you saw really well Brewtal, lovely shots, but seriously I feel your pain dude:wink:
 

Brewtal

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Oh shit dude sorry I've not commented earlier, I thought I had and was just lookin thru sum older posts and noticed I hadn't! I know how badly you wanted to see this place too, and how much it means to you. I only wish you cuda made it shortly after I went but I know you had work in the way. Its no consolation but you have seen the part I didn't actually get any shots of!:beaten: I went into that bit but nearly fell thru the spongy floor and was already suffering from extreme fatigue then sum annoying iphone lot turned up shouting nonsense and my brain flipped, I had to get outa there and get sumfink to eat Id been on me feet all day. I'm gutted what I missed as the shot with the glass lampshades looks fantastic! I didn't see that suitcase on the grass either lol
You captured the part you saw really well Brewtal, lovely shots, but seriously I feel your pain dude:wink:

Meh... It would've been nice to face some fears, I have recurring nightmares set in here all the time. I'm just happy to see it posted on here more than anything. I'm due a post xmas visit back home anyway! ; )
 
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