Walk & Talk - Royal Crichton Hospital, Dumfries

When & Where

This is a Scottish Local History Forum event.
Friday, 9 June 2017 - 12:00pm to 4:00pm
Rutherford McCowan Building, The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries, DG1 4ZE

Event Details

Discovering ‘The Crichton’

The Forum is planning a Walk and Talk event to Crichton Hospital, Dumfries, formerly a world renown psychiatric hospital but now part of the "super campus" which houses Galloway & Dumfries College, the University of the West of Scotland, the University of Glasgow (which is kindly providing the room for the talk), the Open University, the Scottish Agricultural College and the Crichton Carbon Centre. The majority of the large Victorian and Edwardian psychiatric hospitals across the country are either lying derelict or have been demolished to make way for new development, often speculative housing. Since 1995 the Crichton Development Company and the Crichton Trust have been working to turn the redundant and deteriorating former psychiatric hospital into one of the most significant regeneration projects in Dumfries.

The Crichton Royal Hospital, described as ‘the last, and grandest, of Scotland’s royal asylums’, was founded in 1838 and extended over the next century. Offering a new way to treat mental illness, the Crichton’s beautiful tranquil setting a couple of miles south of Dumfries, was part of the therapy. Splendid A and B listed buildings are spread around a large estate with a ‘village green’ centred on the Crichton Memorial Church.

Psychiatric research combined with innovative treatment using occupational and art therapy made the Crichton a landmark in the treatment of mental illness. The art work produced by the patients was collected and is the subject of one of the talks.

Getting There

The Rutherford McCowan Building is in the southeast corner of the site. Adjacent parking is often full; Easterbrook Hall car park (between Hall and Church) is most likely to have spaces.

As Dumfries is some distance from the rest of Scotland there is a late start on Friday 9 June allowing time for bus travel from Glasgow. Those from further afield may wish to stay for a night, either on site in the Aston Hotel (now a Holiday Inn) or in a local B&B.

There are several places of interest in the surrounding area, including Dumfries Museum and Camera Obscura (which has an excellent local history exhibition), Caerlaverock Castle, Sweetheart Abbey and Drumlanrig

Additional Archive Tour - Thursday 8 June 2017

Graham Roberts, Dumfries & Galloway Archivist and a member of SLHF Advisory Committee, has arranged this visit, and to add interest to an overnight stay, if there is sufficient demand, he has offered to reveal some of the highlights of the archive collection in the Ewart Library from 3pm on Thursday 8 June in an informal display and talk with supper (payable locally) in a pub.
Please select the option including the Archive visit if you are interested.
Please note this will be held on the evening before the Walk & Talk event i.e. Thursday 8 June.

Programme - Friday 9 June 2017

The talks will cover the history of the hospital and art as therapy (with access to the gallery of examples of inmates art).
The walk will cover the grounds of the hospital.

12.00-12.45 Registration; tea/coffee (bring your own lunch).

12.45-14.00 TALKS
A brief introduction to the history of the Asylum by Graham Roberts.
The art works produced by the patients as therapy by Maureen Parks.

14.00-16.00 WALK around the grounds, led by Graham Roberts

The timing of the programme has been arranged to fit with public transport from central Scotland.

Please note that lunch is not provided but there is a cafe is available in the campus for people to get lunch.


You can pay online here now or download the booking form and send it to us with a cheque.

Ticket Type Price Buy
Dumfries Walk & Talk - Member Ticket £10.00
Dumfries Walk & Talk - Non-member Ticket £15.00
Dumfries Walk & Talk with Archive tour - Member Ticket £10.00
Dumfries Walk & Talk with Archive tour - Non-member Ticket £15.00
Dundee Walk & Talk £30.00
Dundee Walk & Talk - Concession £28.00


The Forum


£10 members, £15 non-members

Event Location

Rutherford McCowan Building
The Crichton
Bankend Road