In 1873 Dr John Cameron took over as Medical Superintendant where he continued the therapeutic policies of Rutherford and Sibbald by establishing farm work as a form of therapy.

The value of stock on the farm is noted on 15 May 1875 as £1286 and included:

  • 22 Milk Cows
  • 1 Ayrshire Bull
  • 1 Quey Stirk
  • 4 Cross Stots
  • 70 Fat Blackface Ewes
  • 6 Work Horses
  • 4 Pigs

By 1872 active employment was well established with patients working not only on the farm.


  • 25 working at trenching and levelling
  • 8 working in the garden
  • 2 making road metal
  • 1 acting as sheperd
  • 2 working with mason
  • 4 building dry stone dykes
  • 31 thinning turnips
  • 3 working with engineers
  • 3 working with joiner
  • 2 driving carts
  • 3 herding cattle
  • 1 assisting store keeper
  • 1 cutting wood
  • 10 acting as housecleaners
  • Total 96 male patients actively employed


  • 25 engaged in needlework
  • 8 in the kitchen
  • 7 thinning turnips
  • 8 working in the laundry
  • 4 spinning
  • 1 as dairymaid
  • 4 knitting stockings
  • 3 as housemaids
  • 14 as housecleaners
  • 8 engaged with teasing hair of old mattresses
  • Total 82 female patients actively employed
  • 217 resident patients – 178 working

The remainder are reported as being the old and infirm

Employ the Patient steadily in a manner suited to his rank and education, avoiding any occupation which is associated with his delusions, and indulging him in any not positively injurious to him, to which he may have taken a fancy.”

Sixteenth Annual Report of the General Board of Commissioners in Lunacy for Scotland

The beneficial influence of placing the patients in circumstances so greatly superior to those they have been accustomed to in their own homes is seen in their tranquil, and, so to speak, rational behaviour.

There was an entire absence of those features which are still too frequently seen in Asylums.”

The inmates learn to respect the comforts by which they are surrounded, and thus not only refrain from injuring the articles of furniture and decoration, but exert themselves to protect them to the utmost of their power.”

Extract from Argyll & Bute Asylum report – 28 March 1874

In 1881 East House opened to accommodate 120 more patients.

In1899 the following complaints were noted in the Asylum Report:

Several complaints were made chiefly referring to undue detention and to the quality of food supply. Those complaining of undue detention were all found to be insane and properly retained in the Asylum. The complaints regarding food were not substantiated on investigation, but some of them included objections to the colour of the tea and of the soup which probably pointed to the impurity of the water supply.”

By the 1930’s the hospital had an active social life and was very much a part of the local community including performing with its own staff and patient Brass Band.

During the post war period it was well established that the hospital farm provided all the vegetables for the hospital which alongside the piggery, cattle and sheep stocks made it very self- sufficient.

Sport played an important role in the lives of the patients with a football team regularly playing in local leagues, and by the 1960’s the grounds also included a rugby pitch and bowling green.