Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Asylums, Poor Houses and the like.

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ChipChip
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Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by ChipChip » Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:30 am

I am trying to establish exactly what and where this establishment was. Two people in my tree died there in 1948 and 1954. Was it an asylum, hospital, care home or something else.?
There are bits and pieces online that ask the same questions but there are no answers that tie it down. A few suggestions but not the nitty gritty.
The 'Gray' name features prominently on various parcels of land in Liff probably related to the very large property known as the 'House of Gray' or 'Gray House'. Despite that I cannot find a Gray Road in the valuation roll or a search online. I can find a 'Dykes of Gray Road' on a map but it seems to serve several properties including House of Gray.
A search in the Edinburgh Gazette brings up an unrelated death in Astral House in Nov. 1965. This confirms that the premises existed from at least 1948-1965 which makes it difficult to understand how little is known of it.

AndrewP
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by AndrewP » Fri Jun 19, 2020 1:52 am

Hi ChipChip,

This may not be the answer you were wanting, but it looks like Astral House may well have been the address used for Liff Hospital, or by its earlier names, Dundee District Asylum or Dundee District Mental Hospital. It was not uncommon for such hospitals or poorhouses to have a 'more respectable' address to use for putting on death certificates and the like - it took the stigma away from it. On searching the internet, there are various results, mostly from people doing a similar family history search as you are, and most of these imply without proving that Astral House was most likely the Mental Hospital's more respectable address.

All the best,

AndrewP

ChipChip
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by ChipChip » Sun Jun 21, 2020 11:25 am

AndrewP,
Thank you for your response.
I am quite happy to accept your suggestion if all else fails but I still have a wee doubt about it because of what follows.
In my initial post I mentioned the Nov 1965 death in Astral House which appeared in the Edinburgh Gazette. The same article includes a death in Mar 1966 in the Royal Dundee Liff Hospital. The implication is that Astral House and the hospital were separate properties although they could be separate properties within the same complex.
At the end of the day it is very likely that Astral House was as you describe. I have been trying to confirm the situation one way or the other but it will not be the end of the world if I don't. (I think.!)

WilmaM
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by WilmaM » Sun Jun 21, 2020 2:44 pm

Who was the informant on the deaths? Relatio or member of staff?
And what was the cause of death? These might give a clue.

I did a quick street view round the old Liff hospital ( looks lovely now converted to housing) at least one of the doors had writing carved above it. Could be worth a close tour to see if any reference to Astral can be found . the old maps seem to show a few different buildings in the complex.

ChipChip
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by ChipChip » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:59 am

WilmaM,
Thank you for your suggestions.
I think I understand your train of thought but I'm afraid the 'Cause of death' column does not provide any clues as to the nature of the Astral House facility. In normal circumstances the death cause is something like Pulmonary Tuberculosis, Broncho Pneumonia or Carcinoma. The person may suffer from a mental disorder such as insanity, paranoia or schizophrenia but that would not be a cause of death.
The records I have come from Scotlandspeople. In every case the Informant is a named individual who is referred to as the Occupier and that's it. This, in itself, may have have some bearing on the facility.
I have not entered into the Google Street View game because I feel it's something of a needle in a haystack venture.

AndrewP
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by AndrewP » Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:38 pm

Hi ChipChip,

I looked up the death certificate of the lady whose name is given in the Edinburgh Gazette that you mentioned above. All three deaths on that page were at Astral House, Gray Road, Liff. Two of the three had a 'usual address' underneath the hospital, implying that the other was resident there. The two with a usual address noted had their deaths registered by a family member. The other one had hers registered by Richard(?) Robertson, Occupier. The deceased were aged between 67 and 98, and all had the following causes of death:

Deceased #1
Bronchopneumonia, Cerebral Degeneration - Senile Psychosis

Deceased #2
Bronchopneumonia, Cerebrovascular Degeneration

Deceased #3
Terminal Bronchopneumonia, Congestive Cardiac Failure, Toxaemia - Large Pressure Sores over Sacrum

I looked at a few others from that same year in that district, and for each of them, all three deaths on the page occurred at Astral House. It does make me wonder if it may have been a hospice. The causes of death were various and not centred on mental health issues.

All the best,

AndrewP

WilmaM
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by WilmaM » Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:50 pm

It is strange that we can't find much evidence for it's existence.

Perhaps you could contact Tayside NHS and see what records they may hold on it.
https://www.dundee.ac.uk/archives/thecollections/

unfortunately the search function - doesn't! and I'd be surprised if you'd get any sort of reply until life returns to more normal - but could eb worth a try.

We'd all be interested in the reply.

ChipChip
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by ChipChip » Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:52 am

WilmaM and AndrewP,
I do appreciate your replies and for continuing to stick with it so to speak. Although the net is sort of closing in I reckon that I will have to contact Dundee Archives as suggested by Wilma. Such organisations have enough on their plate with the current problems and I will leave it until later in the year. The phrase that includes 'dog' and 'bone' comes to mind.
I did not expect anyone (Andrew) to break into their piggy bank and to spend the dosh on my little problem but it did actually reveal an issue that I wondered about.
Th two records from SP that I have include six deaths, five of which occurred in Astral House. The Informant on each of the five is a named individual classed as the Occupier. The five names are all different from each other which seems unusual in itself. You would expect a degree of consistency with the names over a similar timescale. There is no usual residence on any of them. If you combine my records with Andrew's records then it would appear that if you download any death record in Liff from 1948-1965 it will inevitably include a death in Astral House. Yet here we are trying to figure out what this very prominent building actually is. Very odd.
Perhaps someone will come up with a eureka moment and save all this conjecture.
Here's hoping.

WilmaM
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by WilmaM » Wed Jun 24, 2020 1:40 pm

Stick with us chip chip and you'll find 'dog & bone' applies to the regulars here!
We strongly dislike unsolved [sherlock] mysteries!

Currie
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Re: Astral House, Gray Road, Liff, Angus, Scotland.

Post by Currie » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:05 am

I searched for “Astral House” in the newspapers I can access and only found a few death notices. I think the earliest was 1943.

However at the British Newspaper Archive site there’s a report of an accident which mentions Astral House in the Aberdeen Press and Journal, Monday 22 November 1965. https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co. ... rder=score

I fiddled with the search and came up with this much

time later. Mr Harvey was working In Aberdeen with Arm of >van heating engineers and Is believed to have arrived the city only on Thursday, The bus was driven by Andrew McPherson, 8 laeburn Place. Aberdeen. The two surviving victims of fatal accident on the tlnlore-Inverurle road on Friday night. Mrs Jane Ritchie, 12 East Park Street, and Miss Isobel Jolly (31). nurse. Astral House, both of Huntly. were stated to be U ]uat [air at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhlll, yesterlay The two other women In the crash Mrs Alice larclay .(78). widow. Astral House, and Miss Margaret lelen Plrle (53). warden. 24 Baron's Court, Huntly—were oth killed. The ..…

It seems that if you register you can view some images for free. Maybe there’s something useful there.

Or does this throw a spanner in the works? Is it the Huntly near Dundee or the one much further north? Is there another Astral House with nurses in Aberdeenshire? https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co. ... rder=score

Coventry Evening Telegraph, Saturday 20 November 1965
last night were ramed today as Mrs. Alice Barclay (78). a widow, of Astral House, Huntley, Aberdeenshire. and Miss Margaret Helen Pirie (53), warden, of Baron's Court. Huntley. Two other women in the car were seriously injured. They were th - .! driver

also https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co. ... rder=score

Aberdeen Press and Journal, Tuesday 23 November 1965
.. •aid to be -fair'' at Aberdeen committee ertll be 3 Royal Infirmary, Forssterhlll, bodies are wllllns last nliht. w Mias Isabel Jolly (Jli. nuns. WlfltaUt Arttal House, and Mrs Jane _.. _ . Ritchie. 42 Cast Part Street. Said Stradm were iniausly injured ...

Thoroughly Lost,
Alan

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