Exhibition marks 230 years

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THE HISTORY of one of Angus’ most well-known hospitals will be on display at a special exhibition until Saturday, September 24.

To mark the 230th anniversary of Sunnyside Royal Hospital, Montrose Museum will display a number of artifacts showing the history of the hospital and charting the daily lives of staff and patients over the years.

The exhibit includes medical equipment, plans, papers and uniforms as well as portraits and display boards about the developments in the field and the key figures involved locally such as founder Susan Carnegie and Dr James Howden.

Much of the collection was put together by the late Dr Kenneth Keddie, a former consultant psychiatrist who established the Sunnyside museum in the 1980s, and NHS Tayside which has brought together artefacts from the museum collection, the hospital and the Dundee archives for this exhibition.

There will also be three talks held over the course of the exhibition run.

The history of psychiatry on Thursday, August 11 at 7.30pm; The present and future of psychiatry on Thursday, September 22 at 7.30pm and The history of Sunnyside with the date to be confirmed.

Bill Troup, Head of Mental Health Services for Angus Community Health Partnership, said: “With this exhibition we hope to share some of the stories that have shaped the lives of those working and living in Sunnyside and the local community, and to look back over the contribution that the hospital has made to local mental health care over the last 230 years.”

Sunnyside is the second site for the local psychiatric hospital in Angus.

The original Montrose Asylum, which was the first asylum in Scotland, was funded by public subscription and established by local woman Susan Carnegie in 1781.

Expanding patient numbers led to the purchase of a new site in Hillside and the current hospital buildings opened in 1857.

The site was further developed with Carnegie Clinic and the hospital block, as well as a number of villas to house patients, added over the years.

Notable patients include the father of Arthur Conan Doyle who was a talented artist, and Adam Christie who sculpted the Hillside Robert Burns plaque. Some of Adam’s sculptures are on display in the exhibition.

From the 1970s, advances in psychiatric care and greater community resources, including supported accommodation and the set up of three Community Mental Health Teams in the 1990s, led to reduced patient numbers and the closure of some of the buildings on the Sunnyside site.

The museum exhibition is part of a series of events to mark the closure of Sunnyside, which also includes a service of Thanksgiving at Hillside Church on Friday, August 19 and a summer fete in the hospital grounds on Saturday, August 20.

The new mental health facilities at Stracathro are expected to be handed over to NHS Tayside in late October this year, with patients and staff transferring from Sunnyside a month later.

The new development at Stracathro will replace the existing facilities at Sunnyside and, along with the development at Murray Royal Hospital in Perth, is part of a £95 million project to provide state-of-the-art facilities for adult and older inpatients, out-patients and day patients from across Tayside.