Explore this index of admission and register records for Scottish mental health institutions including asylums and poorhouses. Records can provide you with your ancestor’s birth year, former residence, and next of kin.
The records were compiled by Emma and Graham Maxwell from records retained by the National Records of Scotland. Stuart Farrell has provided the Inverness District Asylum records. The amount of information listed varies, you may be able to find a combination of the following information about your ancestor:
Patient identification number
Notes – may provide detail about the condition of the original records
This collection of admission and register records includes records that were transcribed by Graham and Emma Maxwell from the original records held at the National Records of Scotland. The records for Inverness District Asylum have been provided by Stuart Farrell.
The admission records are part of the MC2 series, Notices of Admissions by the Superintendent of the Mental Institutions. The 52 institutions are listed below, among them are poorhouses and asylums. During the nineteenth century, treatment for mental health vastly improved. In the first half of the century, it was recognised that people suffering from a mental health disorder should be treated separately and facilities were created. Various campaigns continued to improve the conditions of those housed in these institutions.
The register records are part of the MC7 series, General Register of lunatics in asylum. The register covers patients admitted to an asylum in Scotland. The records include a death date for the patient.
Newspapers are an excellent source to find out more about the living conditions for those in asylums as well as the number of patients and their disorders. On 18 August 1859, the Caledonia Mercury published the 32nd annual report of James Murray’s Royal Lunatic Asylum in Perth. The report listed melancholia and despondency, monomania, acute mania, and chronic dementia as the reasons some patients were held at the asylum. The report also mentioned one patient whose condition was ‘connected with the celebration of the Burns’ centenary’. The centenary of the birth of the national poet Robert Burns took place in 1859. However, it did not provide any further information about how a centenary celebration lead to this person being admitted to a mental health institution. The report also revealed that female patients outnumber male patients and the average age found in the asylum was between 40 and 50.
Abbey Asylum, Paisley
Alexander Chalmers' Asylum, Musselburgh
Asylum, South Leith
Burgh Asylum, Paisley
Campie Lane House, Fisherrow
City Parish Asylum, Glasgow
Crichton Royal Institution, Dumfries
Cunninghame Combination Poorhouse, Irvine
Eastport House, Musselburgh
Englishton House, Kirkhill
Englishtown House, Inverness
Garngad House, Glasgow
George Davie's Asylum, Tranent
Gilmore House, Liberton
Hallcross House, Musselburgh
Hawkfield House, South Leith
Institute For Imbecile Children, Dundee
Inverness District Asylum
James Murray's Royal Asylum, Perth
John Scott's Asylum, Musselburgh
Lilybank House, Musselburgh
Middlefield, Old Machar, Aberdeen
Millholme House, Musselburgh
Newbigging House, Musselburgh
Poorhouse Asylum, Falkirk
Poorhouse, Govan, Glasgow
Poorhouse, Old Machar, Aberdeen
Poorhouse, South Leith
Poorhouse, St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh
Poorhouse, St. Nicholas, Aberdeen
Royal Asylum, Aberdeen
Royal Asylum, Dundee
Royal Asylum, Montrose
Royal Asylum, Tranent
Royal Edinburgh Asylum
Seabank House, Musselburgh
Southern Counties Asylum, Dumfries
Spring Bank Retreat, Garscube Road, Glasgow
Begin your search broadly with just a name.
While searching for a specific institution, remember that many asylums and facilities changed their names repeatedly during their years of operation. For example, Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow, first opened as the Glasgow Lunatic Asylum. After it received a royal charter in 1824, it became the Glasgow Royal Lunatic Asylum. In 1931, it was renamed the Glasgow Royal Mental Hospital, and in 1963, it adopted its present name.
If needed, you can narrow your results by including additional search criteria such as a year or additional keyword.