Stirling District Asylum

Biography
Bellsdyke Hospital (originally called Stirling District Lunacy Asylum) was set up by Stirling District Lunacy Board in September 1865 and the first patients arrived in June 1869. The Stirling District Lunacy Board was formed in 1848 and an Act of Parliament in 1858 enabled district asylums to be built and maintained by county authorities. Bellsdyke Estate was purchased from Dundas of Carronhall in 1865 in order to build the hospital. In the 1930s the hospital came under the jurisdiction of Stirling District Mental Hospital Joint Committee. In 1960 following the Mental Health (Scotland) Act the name Bellsdyke Hospital was adopted. The original buildings were extended with additions in 1882, 1893, 1896, 1907, 1915 and the 1960s. The National Archives of Scotland hold the Mental Welfare Commission records series ref (MC); including Admission books 1858-1962 ref (MC2) and General Register of Lunatics in Asylum, 1805-1978 ref (MC7). The Admission Books ref (MC2) are a series of monthly volumes dating from 1858 which contain bound copies of the Notices of Admissions by the Superintendent of the Mental Institutions addressed to the Secretary of the Board. The Notices of Admission contain a report by the admitting physician, details of the petition to the Sheriff, personal details of the patient, two medical certificates, and an emergency order granted by the Sheriff. The forms are bound in numerical order, the running serial number agreeing with the General Register of Lunatics in Asylums (MC7). The type of personal information contained in these volumes is enclosed in the statement of particulars which includes name, age, marital status, religion, place of residence, age of first attack, duration of first attack with other medical information. The Notice of Admittance gives the name of the asylum each patient is sent to. The General Register of Lunatics in Asylum ref (MC7) is a chronological list of names of patients giving details of date of admission, the asylum, date of discharge or death, in whose care and observations. Both these series of records contain the name of the asylum each patient was admitted to both public and private, and from looking at a few volumes Stirling is included. Due to the extent of personal information contained in these records the Data Protection Act 1998 restricts access records which are less than 75 years old. The online catalogue OPAC indicates what records are closed and which are open. In most cases records are closed from 1930. Mental Welfare Commission records are stored off site and as such we require at least one working day™s notice to have these records brought into the West Search Room, West Register House. This can be done by either phoning or emailing in advance of a visit on 0131 535 1413 or at wsr@nas.gov.uk. Please note that each reader can order a maximum of 12 items to be brought in from off-site storage at anyone time. Unfortunately we have to set these limits due to the quantity of records brought in each day and the number of records that can be placed in our vans at any one time.

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