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Scotland’s first public asylum transformed into 450 homes

Around £100m being spent building new development on site of psychiatric Montrose hospital.

Sunnyside Royal Hospital closed in December 2011. <strong>Google 2019</strong>
Sunnyside Royal Hospital closed in December 2011. Google 2019

A former psychiatric hospital is being transformed into hundreds of new homes.

Sunnyside Royal Hospital, in Montrose, Angus, was the first public asylum in Scotland and among the first in the English-speaking world.

Around £100m is now being spent building 450 family homes and flats on the site and its surrounding estate.

Sunnyside’s most famous patients were Charles Altamont Doyle, father of Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle, who struggled with epilepsy, and Shetland sculptor Adam Christie.

The former hospital building was founded by Susan Carnegie in 1781 as the Montrose Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary and Dispensary, the hospital obtained a Royal Charter in 1810.

After the introduction of Care in the Community in the early 1980s, the hospital went into a period of decline and closed in December 2011. It was bought from NHS Tayside in 2016 by Sunnyside Estates Ltd.

The new development will feature a community facility in the original recreation hall, with the site linked by a network of walkway and cycle routes through landscaped and woodland areas.

Sunnyside Estates Ltd, a joint venture between Pert-Bruce Construction and Edinburgh-based developer FM Group, said 50 local jobs would be created over the next ten years.

Craig Bruce from Pert Bruce Construction said: “We are passionate about building quality developments that preserve our country’s heritage.

“In this context we worked closely with the local community and planners to develop proposals that maintain the history and heritage of the former hospital and natural environment along with consideration to both existing and new communities.”

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