The Crichton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Crichton Campus)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Crichton Memorial Church

The Crichton is an institutional campus in Dumfries in southwest Scotland. It incorporates part of Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary, a business park, and Crichton University Campus, which serves as a remote campus for the University of Glasgow, the University of the West of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway College, and the Open University. The site also includes a hotel and conference centre, and Crichton Memorial Church, set in a 100-acre (40 ha) park. The campus was established in the 19th century as the Crichton Royal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital.

Crichton Royal Hospital[edit]

The last, and grandest, of Scotland's royal asylums was founded in Dumfries in 1838 by Elizabeth Crichton of Friar's Carse (1779–1862), a wealthy local widow. She persuaded the phrenologist William A. F. Browne (1805-1885) to become medical superintendent and to implement his innovative ideas of occupational therapy and art therapy. Browne remained at the Crichton for almost twenty years (1838-1857) and made a decisive contribution to asylum psychiatry, setting benchmark standards in therapeutic administration. He also hoarded a vast collection of patient art. After his appointment as Medical Commissioner in Lunacy, Browne was succeeded by Dr James Gilchrist; Dr Charles Easterbrook and Dr Alan Tait were later superintendents. The Crichton became widely known for its outstanding contributions to psychiatric research under the leadership of German Jewish émigrés, including Dr Willi Mayer-Gross.[1][2]

Elizabeth Crichton's initial intention to found a university in Dumfries was blocked by the existing Scottish universities.[3] The Crichton was the subject of an unusually detailed and extensive asylum history - The Chronicle of Crichton Royal (1833 - 1936) - written and edited by Charles Easterbrook, and published in 1940. Easterbrook wrote the book - in Edinburgh, at the Murrayfield private hotel - following his retirement as Physician Superintendent.

Psychotherapist Ursula Fleming was educated here and Kate Fraser an early Scottish woman psychiatrist was a junior resident at "The Crichton Royal Lunatic Asylum".[4] Among the people to have been treated there are artist Charles Altamont Doyle (father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), William James Blacklock, Lydia Miller (widow of Hugh Miller), and feminist writer Dora Marsden. An unidentified female patient of Dr James Gilchrist featured as an illustration (Figure 19) in Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872).

The original hospital building, now Crichton Hall, was designed by William Burn and opened in 1839.[5] The hospital was expanded in the late 19th century, when Sydney Mitchell & Wilson added various buildings including the Crichton Memorial Church.[6] Further villas were constructed in 1910–1914 by Mitchell's assistant Ernest Auldo Jamieson,[7] and yet further in 1923–1936. Crichton Hall and Crichton Memorial Church are category A listed buildings, with many of the other buildings listed at category B or category C(s).


In 1995 the Crichton Development Company was established to regenerate the redundant hospital buildings. The redevelopment has seen several of the campus buildings reused as a business park, while the central area has been maintained as a public park. A golf course was developed to the west of the site, and a hotel and conference centre opened. The Development Company acquired a 125-year lease on the site in 2004.[8]

University campus[edit]

Dumfries and Galloway College moved in 2008 from their previous site to a brand new purpose-built £40 million building within the grounds.[9] With over 4000 students the campus has grown significantly following the relocation of Dumfries and Galloway College. Its previous student body was made up by around 250 Glasgow University students and 400 UWS students.

Collectively known as Crichton University Campus, the courses on offer include business, computing, teacher training and nursing courses. The Crichton Carbon Centre, housed in the Rutherford/McCowan building, is one of only two places where the Carbon Management postgraduate degree is available in Scotland. The University of Glasgow offers an MA in Health and Social Policy; an MA Primary Education Programme with Teaching Qualification and a BSc in Environmental Science and Sustainability on the campus.[10]

See also[edit]

  • Crichton F.C. took their name from playing on the sports fields at the campus


  1. ^ Park, Maureen (2010) Art in Madness: Dr W.A.F. Browne's Collection of Patient Art at Crichton Royal Institution, Dumfries Dumfries: Dumfries and Galloway Health Board
  2. ^ Dr Allan Beveridge, ed. (2005). "Psychiatry in pictures -- 186 (1): 1-a1 -- The British Journal of Psychiatry". Retrieved 2009-02-09.
  3. ^ article on the 1838 "University of Dumfries" see this article in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society)
  4. ^ Lower, Sian (Summer 2011). "A Scottish Pioneer". The Point: an Alternative Voice on Mental Health Issues (36): 26.
  5. ^ "Crichton Royal Hospital, Crichton Hall, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  6. ^ "The Crichton, Crichton Memorial Church, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Crichton Development Co". Crichton Development Company. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
  9. ^ "Official opening of new campus at Dumfries & Galloway College | Glasgow and West | STV News". 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2011-12-18.
  10. ^ "University of Glasgow". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2015-10-11.

External links[edit]