Basic Site Details

Name: James Murray Royal Lunatic Asylum
Town, district or village: Perth
City or county: Perthshire
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: JAMES MURRAY'S ROYAL ASYLUM FOR LUNATICS, PERTH. This Asylum is now open for the reception of patients; it is situated in a park, containing 12 acres on the acclicity of the Kinnoull Hill, is perfectly free from damp, and has a delightful view of the Grampian Mountains, the River Tay and the surrounding country; the grounds are walled round, for the purpose of security, privacy and restraint, and where convalescent patients are allowed to amuse and exercise themselves; there are smaller yards attached to the building, for the use of patients whose state requires more careful surveillance. The house was built from a plan of Mr Burn, architect, and consists of three floors; in the centre are the apartments of the superintendent and matron and by which those of the males and females are separated and the different individuals are classified, so as to prevent any unpleasant association; the building has four verandahs, by which patients can enjoy exercise in the open air, during the greatest heat of summer, or the most inclement weather of winter. The galleries are 98 feet long and 11 feet wide; the dining and bedrooms are large, commodious and cheerful, sufficiently secure to prevent escape, and free from the gloomy appearance of confinement. Apartments for those of the higher classes of life are furnished in the most handsome style, affording every accommodation and convenience for themselves and their attendants; rooms are devoted for sick patients, and while the establishment possesses all the advantages of a public institution, richly endowed, it is at the same time conducted on principles of the greatest privacy and comfort. The house is heated from a plan furnished by Mr Sylvester of London, and there are baths of every description on the most approved principles, with a most plentiful supply of excellent water. To persons whose unhappy state of mind renders confinement necessary, the asylum affords a comfortable retreat, where every attention is paid to them, and every means employed to effect a recovery; they are on all occasions treated with all the gentleness and indulgence of which their situation will admit, and no harsh treatment, either by keepers or nurses, is permitted on any account; it is an invariable rule that patients are never exposed, or their names revealed, nor any circumstances mentioned which can at all tend to hurt the feelings of themselves or their friends. November 1827. [Manchester Guardian 17 November 1827 page 1]

Plans at hospital.
Cost: 40,000.

See separate entries for other parts of hospital.

N.B. Howard Colvin notes that this is demolished but this is not correct. HS Listing are assessing it in 2014.

Alternative Names

The following alternative names are associated with this building/design:
 NameCurrent name?Notes
Item 1 of 1Murray Royal HospitalYes 

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Psychiatric hospital  


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 718211827Build/construction 
Item 2 of 71821 Plans drawn up 
Item 3 of 71 July 1827 Opened 
Item 4 of 71833  New wing to north
Item 5 of 71888  New wings to rear
Item 6 of 719031904Build/constructionTwo new villas (Elcho and Birnam Wards)
Item 7 of 7November 1951 Alteration/conversionPart of a five year building programme by the Eastern regional Hospital of Scotland. Proposed electrical wiring and conversion to AC for 19,000


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 9William BurnArchitectA18211827 
Item 2 of 9William BurnArchitectB1833 New wing to north
Item 3 of 9Andrew Granger Heiton (or Andrew H Heiton Granger)ArchitectC1888 New wings to rear
Item 4 of 9Andrew Heiton (junior)ArchitectC1888 New wings to rear
Item 5 of 9William Erskine ThomsonArchitectDc. 19001904Two new villas (Elcho and Birnam Wards) - as assistant or principal draughtsman to Maclaren & Mackay
Item 6 of 9Maclaren & MackayArchitectural practiceD19031904Two new villas (Elcho and Birnam Wards)
Item 7 of 9Robert MackayArchitectD19031904Two new villas (Elcho and Birnam Wards)
Item 8 of 9William Maclaren (or McLaren)ArchitectD19031904Two new villas (Elcho and Birnam Wards)
Item 9 of 9Eastern Regional Hospital Board  1951 Responsible for electrical rewiring and conversion to AC

Related Buildings, Structures and Designs

Child Structures

This structure or site has the following component or child structures (click on an item to view details):
 Building NameNotes
Item 1 of 3James Murray Royal Lunatic Asylum, Gilgal houseFor voluntary patients.
Estimated cost 18,000
Item 2 of 3James Murray Royal Lunatic Asylum, nurses' home 
Item 3 of 3Pavilion, Murray Royal Hospital 


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 4Darragh, Alison2011Prison or Palace? Heaven or Hell? An architectural and social study of the development of public lunatic asylums in Scot Unpublished PhD thesis, University of St Andrewsvol 1, pp xiv, xv, 68-70, 183-4
vol 3, pp 135-9
Item 2 of 4Gifford, John2007The Buildings of Scotland: Perth and Kinross Yale University Pressp652
Item 3 of 4Peacock, D1849Perth  p498
Item 4 of 4Richardson, HarrietN.D.Scottish Hospitals Survey Unpublished typescript (copy in DMW Archive)Listed as Murray Royal Hospital

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 5Builder2 November 1951  p605
Item 2 of 5Building News15 August 1890  p234
Item 3 of 5Dundee Advertiser5 March 1894  Obituary
Item 4 of 5Manchester Guardian17 November 1827  p1- advertisement
Item 5 of 5RIBA Transactions1870  List of William Burn's work compiled by T L Donaldson

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 4Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register52278Elcho and Birnam Wards (C listed)
Item 2 of 4Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register39321Main building (A listed)
Item 3 of 4Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register52277Chapel (B Listed)
Item 4 of 4Perth Royal InfirmaryTayside Health Board Annual Reports 1838-1947