Among LHSA’s accessioned items which are in the process of being catalogued this year, is a collection of plans relating to Dingleton Hospital, Melrose. These items include male and female hospital building plans from the basement to the roof, heating plans, drainage plans and maps of the Melrose area with water mains highlighted. The hospital was opened in 1872 to provide for asylum patients in the counties of Roxburgh, Berwick and Selkirk, who had previously been treated in Musselburgh, on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The date span of the plans is over one hundred years from 1869 to 1972, although some of them are undated.
|Dingleton Hospital piggeries plan, 1905|
Overcrowding quickly became a problem in Melrose, so the site was developed from providing 200 beds in 1872 to 440 beds by 1908 and the plans record some of these developments. A peculiar item among the plans is one of the piggeries, from 1905 when the hospital was known as Roxburgh District Asylum, Melrose, a section of which is shown in the image.
|Section of Dingleton Hospital piggeries plan, 1905|
Part of the treatment of mental illness in asylums in the 19th and 20th century was to provide regular work for the patients and the of rearing farm animals such as pigs and hens is also recorded in LHSA’s records of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, formerly known as the Royal Edinburgh Asylum. These activities also helped to provide some additional income for the asylums before the days of the NHS. Some of the plans are in a fragile state and will require conservation work before they can be accessed. These varied and sometimes colourful items will make a fine addition to the GD30 series, already catalogued.