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The Crichton

File:Crichton Church.jpg
Crichton Memorial Church

The Crichton is an institutional campus in Dumfries, south-west 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, University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Dumfries and Galloway College and the Open University. The site also includes a hotel and conference centre, and Crichton Memorial Church, set in a Script error: No such module "convert". park. The campus was established in the 19th century as the Crichton Royal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital.

Crichton Royal Hospital

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. (For article on the 1838 "University of Dumfries" see this article in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society). 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 at the Crichton. Among the people to have been treated there are artist Charles Altamont Doyle (father of Arthur Conan Doyle), Lydia Miller (widow of Hugh Miller) and feminist writer Dora Marsden. An unknown 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.[3] The hospital was expanded in the late 19th century, when Sydney Mitchell & Wilson added various buildings including the Crichton Memorial Church.[4] Further villas were constructed in 1910–1914, and 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.[5]

University campus

Dumfries and Galloway College moved in 2008 from their previous site to a brand new purpose-built £40 million building within the grounds.[6] 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 and nursing courses. The Crichton Carbon Centre, housed in the Rutherford/McCowan buildings with Glasgow and UWS, is one of only two places where the Carbon Management postgraduate degree is available in Scotland. The University of Glasgow Dumfries also offers an MA in Health and Social Policy; an MA Primary Education course with teaching qualification; a BSc in Environmental Stewardship.

See also

  • 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. ^ "Crichton Royal Hospital, Crichton Hall, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  4. ^ "The Crichton, Crichton Memorial Church, Listed Building Report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  5. ^ "Crichton Development Co.". Crichton Development Company. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Official opening of new campus at Dumfries & Galloway College | Glasgow and West | STV News". 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2011-12-18. 

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