Prisoners or Patients? Criminal Insanity in Victorian Scotland

When & Where

Wednesday, 7 August 2019 - 1:30pm to 2:30pm
National Records of Scotland, New Register House, 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3YY

Event Details

Professor Rab Houston, University of St Andrews

As part of National Records of Scotland’s (NRS) free Edinburgh Fringe exhibition, guest curator Professor Rab Houston of the University of St. Andrews, will examine the ‘criminal lunatics’ featured - those who had ‘committed grave and heinous crimes dangerous to the public’ - and how the exhibition has been informed by his wider project ‘Promoting mental health through the lessons of history’.

The talk outlines who the criminal lunatics were, how they ended up as ‘prisoner-patients’ in what until 1948 was the only specialist facility in Scotland, and what chances these violent yet vulnerable people had of release and rehabilitation. As well as examining patterns of behaviour and the legal/medical structures of the time, it will explore the lived experiences of individual prisoner-patients and those they encountered.

Time will be given at the end for questions.

To book, please visit: Attendees can also turn up on the day and any remaining spaces will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Jocelyn Grant
0131 535 1374



Event Location

National Records of Scotland
New Register House
3 West Register Street


Please note that you should check with the event organiser to confirm details of times and location - Scottish Local History Forum is not responsible for the events hosted by Member Societies.