Royal Edinburgh Hospital Bicentenary Lecture

Speaker: Dr Allan Beveridge Queen Margaret Hospital, Dunfermline

The Royal Edinburgh Asylum is fortunate in having a very rich archive of its history, including an extensive collection of patient accounts of their mental struggles and experiences of the institution.

This paper focuses on the period when the renowned psychiatrist Thomas Clouston was Superintendent. Drawing on over a thousand patient letters, it examines the lives of inmates: their feelings of being unjustly confined, and the tedium of institutional life, but also the relationships which were struck up with fellow-patients and staff. The paper looks at patients’ descriptions of their mental worlds: of being tormented by voices, plagued by electricity and X-Ray machines, condemned to execution, and coming into untold wealth.