Murthly Hospital

Scope and Content

  • Reports, the Board of Directors and the Board of Lunacy. 1865-1948
  • Financial Records. 1906-1944
  • Patient Records. 1864-1985
  • Staff Records. 1829-1949
  • Records relating to asylum grounds and farm. 1939-1966
  • Publications. 1838-1963
  • Photographs and paintings. 1838-c 1960
  • Maps and Plans. 1864-1958

Administrative / Biographical History

Murthly Hospital was completed and open to patients on 1st April 1864 as the Perth District Asylum for pauper lunatics. It was the second district asylum to open in Scotland in response to the Scottish Act of 1857 which provided the power to establish Local Authority mental hospitals and a General Board of Commissioners. The building was designed by Edward and Robertson of Dundee and included a recent method of air heating.

By July 1864 there were 172 patients at the hospital where emphasis was placed on occupation and exercise. Some of these activities included working in the grounds and the sewing room, while in the summer there were dances, cricket matches and walks in the countryside. During the winter they would take part in football and curling. Much of this approach to patient care was due to the first superintendent of the hospital, Dr W. C. M'Intosh who also had a great interest in the re-settlement of patients in the community once they had been discharged from the hospital.

In 1885 the Cottage Hospital was built to house patients with infectious diseases, and in 1894 Murthly became one of the first asylums to build villas within its grounds in an early attempt to provide accommodation for patients based on the colony or village system. Between January 1917 and March 1919 Murthly became a Military Psychiatric Hospital which involved evacuating the civilian patients to neighbouring mental hospitals.

Further building work took place in 1902 when the Cottage Hospital, which had subsequently been turning into nurses accommodation, was extended, and a second Villa for female patients was completed in 1905. In 1951 a Recreation Centre for staff was built, and in 1959 a new Occupational Therapy and Sewing room Centre was opened. The hospital closed in 1984 and is now demolished.


Records are arranged chronologically within series

Access Information

Open for consultation subject to preservation requirements. Access must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation

Acquisition Information

The records were deposited by NHS Tayside in July 2004 (AccM/2004/145).

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list. Subject source lists and databases are also available.

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The records are on paper and include photographs, outsize volumes and plans.

Archivist's Note

Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Bland Project Archivist, June 2007.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction is available subject to preservation requirements. Charges are made for this service, and copyright and other restrictions may apply.

Custodial History



None expected

Location of Originals

The material is original