CRICHTON ROYAL MUSEUM
DUMFRIES
[Site of Museum]
EASTERBROOK HALL
CRICHTON ROYAL HOSPITAL

On April 6th 1989 H.R.H. The Prince of Wales paid a visit to Crichton Royal Hospital when one of his tasks was to open the Museum celebrating the hospital's 150th Anniversary.

The event received coverage in the local press, the Scotsman, the Telegraph and on Border Television. Below are some scans of sections of the report which appeared in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard written by Doug Archibald with pictures by Robin Bryden.

[The Prince opens the Museum] [The Prince views the exhibits] [The Prince gets an explanation]

"The trip was specially aimed at helping the Crichton celebrate a major milestone in its life. Its 150th anniversary actually falls in June, but Prince Charles marked the occasion firstly by unveiling a plaque in the new museum and secondly by planting a walnut tree in the gardens.
On his arrival, His Royal Highness was welcomed by Mr J. A. McIntyre, chairman of Dumfries and Galloway Health Board, who presented Miss M. T. Stirling, chief area nursing officer with the Board, and Mr W. P. N. Armour, unit general manager (mental illness) at the Crichton Royal.
Health Board archivist Mrs M. Williams conducted the Prince on his tour of the new museum being set up specially to commemorate the anniversary.
The residue of the New Moon Library, the original patients' library, some 360 volumes of which were particularly commended by a representative from the National Library of Scotland, will form an integral part of the museum.
Health Board archives will also be in the museum and the old operating theatre of 1938, which will house medical equipment of historical interest, is an adjunct of the designated museum site.
Leaving the museum, the Prince immediately walked over to Miss Joanne Melrose, oldest resident at the Crichton, who celebrated her 100th birthday in December.
He also spoke to other patients before moving along the ranks of the crowds, shaking hands and enjoying jokes before being whisked away to the Hospice where he visited Glencairn and Ettrick Wards.
He was accompanied by Dr R. G. McCreadie, Consultant Psychiatrist and director of clinical services at the Crichton, and Mr B. Toner, director of nursing services.
Then the Prince was out into the rain and walked the short distance through the sodden grounds to the Rock Garden where he met superintendent Mr Willie Carson and planted a tree.
There were more handshakes as he talked to patients, staff and children, many of whom had been out in the rain for over an hour. And then, flanked by his entourage of private detectives and staff, he walked down the final few yards of lawn to his waiting car. With a last wave he was driven away and the latest Royal visit to the region was over."

The Museum tells the story of treatment - largely in a very humane and enlightened way - of mental patients in the South-West of Scotland for 212 years, because Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary played an important part in the story pre 1839.
Facets of the story which are highlighted are:

  1. The Crichton Family.
  2. The growth of the estate.
  3. Various therapies.
  4. Pioneering aspects of the hospital's history.
  5. Services.
  6. The Gardens.
The Museum is geared to opening by appointment outwith the normal opening times for parties of schoolchildren and adults. The Archivist, a former teacher, compiles quiz sheets etc. to suit the particular aspect of study of school parties. In addition she gives guided tours on request.
Both serving and retired members of hospital staff and patients assist the Archivist in manning the Museum.
The hospital site offers as additional attractions to the public lovely buildings, splendid rock garden, spacious grounds, garden shop, canteen and tuck-shop.
All the work in bringing the Museum to completion was executed by Crichton Royal's own staff, apart from the installation of the security system.
[Inside the Museum] [Inside the Museum]
[Inside the Museum] [Inside the Museum]
Specialist features include :
The New Moon Library(1839) Imaginative use of a selection of stained glass.
and New Moon Magazine(1844).
The operating theatre where prefrontal leucotomies were performed.
Art Therapy 1839 - 1857.
The Gallery can accommodate 32 pictures at any one time from the collection of 134 works, possibly unique in the world for the period.
The Art Gallery was featured in an article in the Sunday Times

A section of the display area is reserved for special exhibitions, these have included exhibitions to commemorate:

In prospect is an exhibition to commemorate 50 years of the National Health Service.

An additional facet of the Museum is the provision of a small reading room where members of the public may read any book from the New Moon Library. Genuine researchers may also consult material lodged in the Archives.

There is access to the Museum at the rear for wheelchairs; and four toilets, one of which is designed for wheel chair users, are incorporated in the scheme.

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