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Inverness District Asylum

What are the Inverness District Asylum records?

Inverness District Asylum records are part of the Highland Health Board collection held at the Highland Archive Centre in Inverness. This comprehensive set of records provides details on staff and patients as well as the history and development of Inverness District Asylum, also known as Craig Dunain.

What dates to they cover?

The entire collection spans the years 1849-2002. Warrants date from 1864-1984, Patient Registers 1864-1995, Case Notes 18645-1957, and Staff Registers 1876-1983.

What can I use them for?

  • to look for someone who is shown on a census or poor register as ‘lunatic’
  • to learn about healthcare provision in the Highlands
  • to look for an ancestor who was a nurse
  • to understand the care of mental health patients in the past
  • to trace someone whose death certificate shows Inverness District Asylum or 1 Leachkin Road as place of death

Inverness District Asylum 04What will they tell me?

Warrant states why a patient was thought to be in need of confinement in the Asylum and gives the names of the officials who have authorised his/her confinement. A Register shows a patient’s admission to the Asylum. Case Notes give details of the patient’s condition, treatment, in-house work and social time.

In addition to a patient’s name and address the records often include details of next of kin and a physical description of the patient. We also hold Registers of Deaths, Escapes and Discharges which help to complete the picture of someone’s time at the Asylum. Staff Registers give details of training history, salary and conduct of nurses, attendants and other staff.

The whole collection gives a fascinating insight into mental health treatment in the Highlands.

Will there definitely be useful information in there?

If you’re researching a person and have evidence that he/she was in Craig Dunain as a patient or member of staff you are very likely to find useful information within the records. If you’re researching the subject of mental health or general healthcare provision in the Highlands this collection will be invaluable.

Inverness District Asylum 06Do I need to know anything first?

If you’re looking for the records of a certain person, any information you can provide will be helpful in locating him/her in the records. If you’re researching the general subject, it’s entirely up to you where you start!

Are there any viewing restrictions?

Yes – due to the sensitive information within, Patient Records are closed for 100 years and Staff Records are closed for 75 years. If you require access to a closed record, please see a member of staff.

Can I request photocopies?

Yes. You can download our charges here.

Can I take photographs?

No. One of the conditions of these records being held here is that they are not photographed.

Where can I find out what you hold?

The Craig Dunain collection is part of the Highland Health Board Archive which is available for consultation in our Search Room.

Where do I go next?

If you’re researching a family member why not look at other sections of the Craig Dunain collection to see what life was like in the Asylum. If you’re researching Highland healthcare provision, why not look at the evidence of the Dewar Committee which is held at The Highland Archive Centre.