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My Great Grandmother Jeannie McKechnie’s demise in the Asylum 1903-1952…

7 Jul

Gartloch3

Gartloch Asylum Glasgow.

Dear Miss Moir

It transpires that your Great Grandmother had a very long history of mental illness.  As the records are either not in a fit condition for copying or are in very heavy volumes, I have transcribed the salient passages.

She was admitted to Gartloch Asylum on 4 Dec 1903.  Her next of kin was recorded as being her husband.  Two doctors who examined her provided the following reports for the Sheriff of Glasgow (who authorised her admission):
1. “Incoherence of speech: thinks that her children are poisoned by her neighbours.  Voices continually speak to her.”
2. “She is dull, irritable & excitable & she is incoherent in her talk & has delusions of suspicion & persecution.  Her husband states that she neglects her household duties & has been very strange in conduct for several years.”

Her husband provided the following:

“Illness began 12 years ago – restlessness at night: would go away very early in the morning to see her father, leaving an infant.  Since lost oldest boy (14) in July last – he was accidentally drowned – has been much worse: thinks her neighbours had boy murdered for £100.  9 children, no miscarriages.”

On 25 Feb 1904 she was transferred to Govan Parish Asylum at Hawkhead (later re-named Leverndale) because under the Poor Law system Govan was the parish responsible for her.  The doctor who first examined her there wrote, “She is often unduly depressed and confessed that she is under the influence of delusions”.  She remained at Hawkhead, at least until 1917.  There is a gap in the records between 1917 and 1921.

On 30 Jul 1921 she was re-admitted to Hawkhead.  She is described on admission as a 55 years old widow, previously residing at Dalmary Cottage, Gartmore.  She is diagnosed as suffering from “Dementia secondary” and is said to have been insane for 18 years.

On 8 Oct 1929 she was transferred to the mental wards at the Southern General Hospital (also run by Govan Parish Council).  These wards were generally used to house chronic cases of incurable insanity, especially amongst elderly people.  Her next of kin is recorded as being her sister, Mrs Miller of 225 Holmlea Road, Cathcart.  She remained at the Southern General Hospital until her death, 1952.

I hope that this will help you.  Please bear in mind that it is very unlikely that we will be able to provide answers to whatever supplementary questions may occur to you.  For instance, the records do not state whether she was buried or cremated, nor by whom.  Nor do they indicate who visited her.

Yours sincerely

Alistair Tough

 

Tough

Mr Alistair Tough,

Greater Glasgow Health Board Archivist.

 

 

 

 

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