Institution Information - Middlefield House

Parish/County: Old Machar, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire

Alternative Names: Upper Middlefield House

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Locating Records for this institution

For people admitted to Scottish Mental Health institutions from 1 January 1858 a record usually survives in the ‘Notices of Admissions by the Superintendent of the Mental Institutions’ which are held by the National Records of Scotland. We are creating an index to these records and can assist you in searching the unindexed period. Search our index here or read more about the project here.

Records kept by this private institution do not seem to have survived. If you learn of anything concerning the survival or whereabouts of these records, please contact us.

Text from 1857 Royal Commission Report

“MIDDLEFIELD HOUSE, ABERDEEN; Dr. Poole, Proprietor; Visited 26th July 1855.

This house is situated about two miles from Aberdeen. It was established by Dr. Warwick about twenty years ago; and, on the death of his widow, was carried on by Dr. Poole, formerly physician to the Montrose asylums, who has a nineteen years' lease, and pays a rent of £30 a year.

It stands on an elevated situation, and consists of a double two-storied house, having a front of three windows. It contained, at the date of our visit, 10 patients, viz., 8 males and 2 females, but it is capable of accommodating 15. The average rate of payment is £1, Is. a week; £125 per annum is the highest present rate, and for this sum the patient has a parlour, a bedroom, and a third small room. The lowest rate is £40, except in the ease of an imbecile boy, who, for special reasons, is received for £12 a year.

There are about two acres of land, principally laid out as garden. The house affords a good deal of accommodation. There are six rooms on the ground floor; eight rooms, besides storeroom, on the upper floor; and six rooms in the attics. On the ground floor are the dining-room and drawing-room, and the day-room for gentlemen. The bedrooms are comfortably and fully furnished; and, on the whole, the comfort of the patients seems well attended to. At present two gentlemen dine with Dr. Poole's family; the rest dine together. One lady takes her meals with the younger members of the family, and the other eats alone in her room, living on bread and milk, which is the only food she takes.

Mechanical restraint is occasionally used, but no record of it has been kept since August 1850. In an outhouse is a seclusion-room, lately erected. It is flagged, but the floor is covered with matting and a carpet. It is habitually occupied by the imbecile lad already mentioned, except when required for any of the other inmates. The lad is then put into a small room adjoining the laundry.

There is one male attendant, who has wages equivalent to £25 a year; but he is feeble, both mentally and physically, and not to be relied on in an emergency. Dr. Poole, too, is an old man, so that the establishment is not well adapted for the reception of acute cases. There are two female attendants at £6 a year each. Mrs. Poole and her daughters assist in the management of the house.

The patients occasionally go beyond the limits of the asylum with the attendant, and one sometimes goes out fishing. A former patient, a clergyman, preached in a neighbouring church daring his convalescence. Every patient has washing apparatus in his room, and there is a bath in an outhouse, and a douche. The last is said to be occasionally found useful. The garden is pleasantly laid out, and contains shady walks, bowling-green, &c, and abundance of flowers; but is not very tidily kept. From the upper walk of the garden there is a good view of the country. There is also a carpenter's shop, with a turning-lathe. Dr. Poole has scriptural readings on Sundays.

The Sheriff visits twice a year, accompanied by the procurator fiscal and a medical man. Patients are admitted on one medical certificate. The Madhouse Register is kept, and is sent annually to the Sheriff.”

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