After 20 years of resistance, Elizabeth Crichton set up a lunatic asylum. Dr William Browne was the first physician in charge when it opened in 1839. Over the next 150 years, it grew to become an internationally recognised centre of excellence in mental health research and care.
In the 1980’s, it became surplus to requirements, but the local authority was keen to ensure it remained in public ownership and purchased the site from the Health Board in 1995. It did so with the primary objective of ensuring that this important public asset was saved, protected and sensitively developed for the good of the wider community. It was also an opportunity to respond to local ambitions and fulfil Elizabeth Crichton’s dream to develop a much-needed University Campus offering local access to Higher Education.
The 85 acres of beautiful parkland consisting of 27 historic buildings including the iconic A-listed Crichton Memorial Church continues to be owned by the local authority, but it is leased to The Crichton Trust who is now responsible for the development and management of the estate.
The Crichton estate now has a University Campus hosting the University of Glasgow, University of the West of Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway College, Open University (Scotland) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), as well as a Business Park with 60+ businesses and over 1,000 employees. It also boosts beautiful landscaped grounds and gardens, a 71-bedroom Holiday Inn, the magnificent Easterbrook Hall and Neuro’s Bar, Restaurant and Spa.