Royal Dundee Liff Hospital

Scope and Content

Charter, regulations and bye-laws 1825-1917; chartularies 1811-1937; papers relating to Westgreen 1829-1979; reports 1870-1947; minutes 1820-1948; letter books and correspondence 1882-1948; accounts 1805-1838; cash books 1833-1961; journals 1930-1948; ledgers 1885-1948; patients' accounts 1927-1959; patients' ledgers 1926-1948; staff records 1894-1950; patient records, including daily registers 1902-1959; case books 1824-1912; post mortem records; registers of admissions; discharges and removals and registers of deaths; visitor registers 1882-1917; Lunacy Acts and Laws 1850-1914; papers relating to scheme for treating cases at Dundee Royal Infirmary 1907-1914; papers relating to the Lunacy (Scotland) Act 1911 1911-1914; miscellaneous 1883-1967.

Administrative / Biographical History

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.


Records are arranged chronologically within series. Much of the material is awaiting arrangement.

Access Information

Clinical information is closed for 100 years.

Acquisition Information

The records were deposited by the Hospital in 1986 (AccM/228), 1998 (AccM/370) and 2000 (AccM/432).


Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, July 2001.

Other Finding Aids

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

Alternative Form Available

No known copies.

Conditions Governing Use

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


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Related Material

  • THB 1 Dundee Royal Infirmary
  • THB 10 Dundee District Board of Lunacy
  • THB 11 Dundee Mental Hospitals (Board of Management)
  • THB 14 Maryfield Hospital


Gibson, Henry JC Dundee Royal Infirmary 1798 to 1948 (1948)