Sunnyside Hospital sale in final stages

Councillor David May pictured at Sunnyside Hospital.
Councillor David May pictured at Sunnyside Hospital.

The former Sunnyside Royal Hospital is in the final stages of being sold.

News that a buyer for the site in Hillside emerged after questions were raised with Montrose councillor David May about the closure a popular path that lead to the old asylum.

While details of the sale are unclear at the moment, NHS Tayside has confirmed the sale of the site is in its late stages.

Sunnyside Royal Hospital closed its doors in December 2011 after serving as a mental health facility for 153 years in the area.

Landowner NHS Tayside put the former hospital, which was Scotland’s first purpose-built asylum, up for sale last year after declaring it surplus.

The site has remained empty since 2011 and there have been concerns about the building falling into a state of disrepair like Strathmartine Hospital, theft and people entering the site without permission.

Recently, there was anger after ‘ghost hunters’ gained unauthorised access to the building and posted photographs of their search for paranormal activity online.

Local councillor David May said residents had recently raised the closure of a route known locally as the Doctor’s Path between Rosemount Road and Hospital Road in Hillside with him.

The path is used by many locals and dog walkers as they go from the Rosemount side of the village to the old Sunnyside site.

Cllr May said: “I have been led to believe from what I heard in the past that there is a public water main running under the path, and a parallel private water main belonging to the hospital under the driveway to the south of the path.

“It seems that the works are probably being done to disconnect private properties from the private water main and connect them to the public supply.”

A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “Scottish Water is working on behalf of NHS Tayside at the Sunnyside site and these works should be completed in the near future.

“The sale of the Sunnyside site is in its final stages.”

The Sunnyside site includes a number of large listed buildings, including the main hospital building, Carnegie House and Booth House.

The Montrose Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary and Dispensary was founded by Susan Carnegie of Charleton In 1781.

It was based on Montrose Links and by 1853 the number of residents had passed the 200 mark.

The expanding patient numbers led to a new improved asylum being built at Sunnyside Farm, Hillside.

It was designed by William Moffat in 1857 and was operational by 1858.

With the introduction of the NHS, the mental health unit’s name was changed from the Royal Asylum of Montrose to the Royal Mental Hospital of Montrose and in 1962 it became Sunnyside Royal Hospital.

Noteworthy patients include the father of Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a talented artist, and outsider artist Adam Christie, from Shetland, who made stone sculptures while he was at Sunnyside using basic tools.