A Royal Visit To Angus House

Up to the Bi-Centenary

In the late 40's, patient numbers started to rise again, against prediction, however, this proved to be turning point and since then, the number of resident patients showed a dramatic decline, to 617 in 1967, for example, and on to its 1981 level of around 400. Thus the case for a new Admission Unit immediately after the war was initially a very strong one. It was supported by the Commissioners in more than one of their reports, especially for the appropriate treatment of patients with "neuroses" (1957).

However, as numbers began to decline, the case became weaker. A "new" Unit was eventually opened at Stracathro Hospital in 1966, in keeping with the views then prevailing that admission units for psychiatric patients should be sited in general hospitals. As far as Sunnyside was concerned, this arrangement proved to be temporary, and lasted only until the opening of Carnegie Clinic as an admission unit in 1971.


Over the 30 year period from post-war to the bi-centenary, it would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that the hospital had changed as much as it did in the previous hundred. Television was introduced in time for the Coronation in 1953, and most wards had a set by 1957. Complete modernisation of most wards was carried out during the 50's and 60's, which transfonned especially the Main Building wards. Open fires gave way to radiators and many side rooms were heated for the first time.

 The 'Therapies'
Carpets took the place of wood and linoleum, duty rooms for nurses were added, and toilet areas upgraded. Due to the decline in patient numbers, it at last became possible to take the unsuitable basement wards out of use and reduce the use of the inaccessible high dormitories. More significant than changes in the fabric, this period saw a marked change in attitudes to "mental illness". Although many factors have contributed to this change, among the most important was the introduction of the psychotropic drugs to Sunnyside in the 1950's, which made it possible to discharge some long-tern patients, prevent deterioration in others, and avoid the need for prolonged admissions in many more. The new legislation of 1960 also helped, doing away with the need for certification (and hence its stigma) in all but a very small proportion of patients. These factors also made possible an "open-door" policy, introduced to Sunnyside during the term of its last Physician Superintendent, Dr. W.M. Lyon, in the mid 60's.