former Murthly Hospital, Perthshire

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MURTHLY HOSPITAL   Built as the Perth District Asylum, it was designed by Edward & Robertson, of Dundee and opened in 1864. It was the second district asylum to open in Scotland. Five architects submitted plans from which the Dundee architects were chosen. David Smart designed the Italianate administration block at the centre. In 1885 a cottage hospital was added on the site which later became the nurses’ home. In 1894 two villas were built which were an early attempt at providing accommodation for pauper patients on the colony system. They were named after the pioneers in psychiatry Pinel and Tuke. The hospital closed in 1984.

 

canmore_image_SC01043901-3aerial photograph taken in 2001  © RCAHMS

Now largely demolished and the site developed as a housing estate called Druids Park (inspired by the stone circle on the eastern side of the site).

canmore_image_SC00785510-2south front photographed in 2001 © RCAHMS ref SC 785510

A few of the old hospital buildings have been retained. The administrative block on the north side of the asylum , though considerably altered, which is the only part to be listed (at grade C). Although I previously stated that this was designed by David Smart, and elsewhere it has been dated to 1871, I have been unable to find – or re-find – any evidence of such an addition at that time, and the wing seems to appear on the first edition OS Map, so I am inclined to conclude that it is a part of the original building. (A possible caveat is an advertisement for tenders for the erection of additional offices at the asylum but this is not until 1893) Also surviving are the two villas, Pinel and Tuke, built in 1894 and of similar design by David Smart.

These are historically of great significance, being particularly early examples of detached villas for patients added to asylums. The medical superintendent’s house, to the east of the site, appears to have survived, if so this is also one of the earliest buildings on the site, being part of the first phase of building. Lastly the nurses’ home, added in 1885 by David Smart, which has been incorporated into Stewart Lodge, on the south-west side of the site.

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Staff houses photographed in 2001 by RCAHMS

Perthshire Advertiser gave a list of the contractors for the original building, and noted that the stone for the rubble work was from Arbroath, while the hewn stone, used for dressings and quoins, was from Bannockburn. 

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About Harriet Richardson

I am an architectural historian, working on the Survey of London at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. I have worked on surveys of hospital architecture in Scotland and England.
This entry was posted in asylum, mental hospital, Scottish Hospitals and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to former Murthly Hospital, Perthshire

  1. Pingback: Charles Morrison’s Diary, 1 to 14 April 1864 | Building Our Past

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