It is now sixty-two years since James Murray's Royal Asylum was opened for the reception of patients; and, in the course of its history, many changes have been made in the architectural arrangements. The original directors were actuated by motives of the purest philanthropy, and laid down, in their first annual report, principles of action from which their successors have never deviated. These principles of action, however, were not and could not be carried out in practice in those days, when modern ideas were but nascent; and the most eminent Scottish architect of his day, guided by the most mature medical experience of the times, could not design such buildings as are now held as requisite for the treatment of mental diseases. The alterations and improvements found to be necessary, in order to maintain this institution in the front rank, were inaugurated some five-and-twenty years ago by the conversion of the dark and winding central staircase into a cheerful galleried hall. The light and air thus admitted, and the feeling of freedom thus installed, proved the keynote to the successive changes that have been wrought from year to year since that time. Hardly any part of the establishment has escaped the modernizing and re-arranging deemed necessary for effective care and treatment. The year 1887, however, found existing wards well-adapted for the chronic and quiet classes, but unsuitable for acute and infirm cases. It was, therefore, decided to add such accommodation as was found necessary, and this paper is intended to describe the leading features of the buildings designed for that purpose.
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