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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Crichton Royal Hospital
NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Crichton Church.jpg
Crichton Memorial Church
Shown in Dumfries and Galloway
LocationDumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, United Kingdom
Coordinates55°03′01″N 3°35′34″W / 55.0504°N 3.5927°W / 55.0504; -3.5927
Care systemPublic NHS
Hospital typeSpecialist
SpecialityPsychiatric hospital
ListsHospitals in Scotland

The Crichton is an institutional campus in Dumfries in southwest Scotland. It serves as a remote campus for the University of Glasgow, the University of the West of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway College, and the Open University. The site also includes a hotel and conference centre, and Crichton Memorial Church, set in a 100-acre (40 ha) park. The campus was established in the 19th century as the Crichton Royal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital.


The last, and grandest, of Scotland's royal asylums was founded in Dumfries in 1838 by Elizabeth Crichton of Friars Carse (1779–1862), a wealthy local widow. Elizabeth Crichton's initial intention had been to found a university in Dumfries but she was blocked from doing so by the existing Scottish universities.[1] The original hospital building, now Crichton Hall, was designed by William Burn and opened as the Crichton Institution for Lunatics in 1839.[2] It became the Crichton Royal Institution in 1840.[3] The Southern Counties Asylum, which was intended to provide facilities for paupers, was erected on the site in 1849 and subsequently amalgamated with the main facility.[4]

Elizabeth Crichton persuaded the phrenologist William A. F. Browne (1805-1885) to become medical superintendent and to implement his innovative ideas of occupational therapy and art therapy. Browne remained at the Crichton for almost twenty years (1838-1857) and made a decisive contribution to asylum psychiatry, setting benchmark standards in therapeutic administration. He also hoarded a vast collection of patient art. The Crichton became widely known in the twentieth century for psychiatric research under the leadership of German Jewish émigrés, including Dr Willi Mayer-Gross.[5][6]

Psychotherapist Ursula Fleming was educated at the hospital and Kate Fraser an early Scottish woman psychiatrist was a junior resident at the hospital.[7] Among the people to have been treated there are artist Charles Altamont Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), William James Blacklock, Lydia Miller (widow of Hugh Miller), and feminist writer Dora Marsden. An unidentified female patient of Dr James Gilchrist featured as an illustration (Figure 19) in Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872).[8]

The hospital was expanded in the late 19th century, when Sydney Mitchell & Wilson added various buildings including the Crichton Memorial Church which is a category A listed building.[9] Further villas were constructed between 1910 and 1914 by Mitchell's assistant Ernest Auldo Jamieson,[10] and yet further between 1923 and 1936. The hospital became the Crichton Royal Hospital in 1945 and it joined the National Health Service in 1948.[3]

In 1995 the Crichton Development Company was established to regenerate the redundant hospital buildings. The redevelopment saw several of the hospital buildings converted for business park use, while the central area was maintained as a public park. A golf course was developed to the west of the site, and a hotel and conference centre were opened. Prince Charles visited the site and unveiled a statue of Elizabeth Crichton in May 2000.[11]

The Crichton Development Company acquired a 125-year lease on the site in 2004[12] and Dumfries and Galloway College moved to a brand new purpose-built £40 million building within the grounds in 2008.[13]

The last of the mental health wards finally closed, concluding the site's use as a hospital, in 2013.[14]


The courses on offer at the Crichton University Campus include business, computing, teacher training and nursing courses. The Crichton Carbon Centre, housed in the Rutherford/McCowan building, is one of only two places where the Carbon Management postgraduate degree is available in Scotland. The University of Glasgow offers an MA in Health and Social Policy, an MA Primary Education Programme with Teaching Qualification and a BSc in Environmental Science and Sustainability on the campus.[15]

See also

  • Crichton F.C. took their name from playing on the sports fields at the campus


  1. ^ Jones, H. Longueville (1838). "University of Dumfries". Journal of the Statistical Society of London. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. 1 (7): 392. JSTOR 2337769.
  2. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Crichton Royal Hospital Crichton Hall  (Category A) (LB3839)". Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Crichton Royal Hospital, Dumfries". National Archives. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  4. ^ "The Crichton". Historic Hospitals. Retrieved 26 April 2019.
  5. ^ Park, Maureen (2010) Art in Madness: Dr W.A.F. Browne's Collection of Patient Art at Crichton Royal Institution, Dumfries Dumfries: Dumfries and Galloway Health Board
  6. ^ Dr Allan Beveridge, ed. (2005). "Psychiatry in pictures -- 186 (1): 1-a1 -- The British Journal of Psychiatry". Retrieved 9 February 2009.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Lower, Sian (Summer 2011). "A Scottish Pioneer". The Point: An Alternative Voice on Mental Health Issues (36): 26.
  8. ^ Darwin, Charles (1872). The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. John Murray.
  9. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "The Crichton, Crichton Memorial Church  (Category A) (LB6695)". Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Ernest Arthur Oliphant Auldjo Jamieson". Scottish Architects. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Crichton Regeneration Project". Scottish Government. 15 February 2001. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Crichton Development Co". Crichton Development Company. Archived from the original on 3 December 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  13. ^ "Official opening of new campus at Dumfries & Galloway College | Glasgow and West | STV News". 12 February 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  14. ^ "End of era in sight at Crichton". Daily Record. 26 July 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  15. ^ "University of Glasgow". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 11 October 2015.

Further reading

  • Easterbrook, Charles (1940). The Chronicle of Crichton Royal (1833 - 1936). Courier Press.
  • Williams, Morag (1989). Crichton Royal Hospital 1839-1989. Dumfries and Galloway Community Health NHS Trust.

External links

This page was last edited on 6 March 2020, at 22:48
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