Garngad House

Garngad House was William Drury’s private lunatic asylum, In the 1827 sketch [above] the spire of Glasgow Cathedral is visible in the background.

In 1814 William Drury came to Glasgow from St Luke’s Hospital in London to become the first Superintendent of the Glasgow Lunatic Asylum in Dobbie’s Loan. Seven years later Drury and his wife, the Asylum’s matron, resigned and acquired the private lunatic asylum in Garngad House:

Text from 1857 Royal Commission Report

“GARNGAD HOUSE, GLASGOW; Visited 20th July 1855; Dr. Hill, Proprietor.

Garngad House stands in an elevated situation near the St. Rollox chemical works, the fumes from which act prejudicially on the vegetation in the garden and grounds.

The house consists of a centre and two wings, and is of three stories, including the basement. The grounds are rather more than six acres in extent, but the patients go little beyond the airing-courts, which are immediately behind the house on the slope of the hill.

At the date of our visit, the house contained 7 male and 8 female patients, but there is accommodation for about 14 of each sex. The rates of payment vary from 15s. to £4, 4s. a week; the highest present rate is £130 per annum.

‘The house may be described as composed of central and lateral divisions.

The upper central division contains five rooms, which, at the date of our visit, were all unoccupied; but they are used as dayrooms or bedrooms, for male or female patients, as occasion requires. The central portion of the first floor accommodates Dr. Hill and his family; that of the basement is occupied as the kitchen and offices.

Ladies.—The female patients are placed in the rooms of the left lateral division. Those on the upper floor are five in number, and are used as bedrooms or day-rooms as required. They are ranged on both sides of the gallery, which is broad and cheerful, is carpeted, and contains some flowers. The highest rate of payment here is £2, 2s. a week. No patient has a separate sitting-room.

The first floor contains four bedrooms, and one associated dayroom, in which the patients dine. The accommodation here is inferior to that on the upper floor. A guinea and a half a week is the highest rate.

In the basement, the accommodation is inferior again to that on the first floor, and the gallery is flagged. The number of rooms is the same as up-stairs, comprising a sitting-room and four bedrooms. Only two of the latter are occupied. They are lined with wood, have sliding shutters, and were constructed for noisy and refractory patients. There is a water-closet on each floor.

Gentlemen.—The male patients occupy the rooms of the right lateral division. On the upper floor there are four bedrooms and a billiard-room. One bedroom only is occupied, by a gentleman who pays eighty guineas a year. He has no separate sitting-room.

The first floor contains a similar amount of accommodation. One patient here pays £130. He has no separate sitting-room; and enjoys no particular privilege, except that of taking all his meals in his bedroom. He is more troublesome than the others. The common day-room contains no furniture, except a small table and a few chairs. There are no sofas nor easy-chairs.

In the basement there are three patients, two paying at the rate of 15s. a week, and one at that of £1, Is. Their sleepingrooms are very poorly furnished; one contains, besides the bed, two old chairs, and the two others have only deal seats fixed in corners. There are no carpets. The patients are classified according to the sums they pay, and their manners and social position; and those occupying the basement are placed there, more on account of their inferiority in these respects, than because they are noisy or violent. In two of these rooms thereare no fire-places, but one derives some heat from being next the kitchen. The other must be very cold in winter. The windows to the front of the house on this floor are all built up, except the highest row of panes, so that the rooms are particularly gloomy. The windows to the airing-court are all barred. The day-room has a small table and three chairs. There is a basin in the gallery which serves as washing accommodation for all the three patients. There is no water-closet within doors for the male patients.

On the whole, the style of accommodation, and the attention paid to the patients’ comfort, are not equal to what they should be, considering the rates of payment. The rooms are untidy, the furniture old and scanty, and the patients disorderly in their persons and dress.

The airing-courts contain about a quarter of an acre each, and, owing to the sloping nature of the ground, are laid out in terraces. They contain seats, but none sheltered from the weather. On the left-hand side of the males’ airing-court, is a separate building, which was formerly used for the accommodation of patients. It contains a considerable number of cells, but is not now occupied.

There are two male attendants, and four female attendants and servants.

There is a bath in the basement, which serves for both sexes, but it is very seldom used.

At present, one male and one female patient attend church. There is no religious service of any kind in the house.

There is a regular supply of books and periodicals from a circulating library. Some of the females are employed at needlework, but the males are almost entirely without occupation.

The grounds consist of a garden, a shrubbery, and a field lately purchased, but the patients do not seem to be much in them.

In a considerable proportion of the cases that are admitted the malady is caused by intemperance. Such patients generally remain two or three months. Mechanical restraint is not employed, and seclusion does not appear to be much used. Indeed, the necessity for seclusion must be of rare occurrence, as noisy and epileptic patients are refused, and only selected cases are admitted.

The Books kept are the Weekly Register, the Book of Admissions and Discharges, the Madhouse Register, and the Case Book.

March 1864 – the case of a mad Clergyman: