PhD Thesis: “Passing the border’: the civilian and soldier patient in the Scottish asylum, 1914-1934.’

Activity: Examination


The thesis demonstrates a critical understanding of the subject and its principal theories and concepts. The student positions her thesis within the wider subject area well, highlighting the gaps which the study will address. She explains that the thesis will essentially address two main questions – firstly what happened to the patients cast out of Scotland’s new war hospitals and secondly what were the experiences of the service patients who replaced them? She addresses both of these questions thoroughly in the course of the written discussion and is able to make clear conclusions in respect to both questions at the end of thesis.
The student communicates at an appropriate standard for an academic audience. There are places where typos and other minor grammatical issues could be addressed but this does not significantly detract from the overall standard of the work.
There is an integrated approach to critical analysis and evaluation and an appropriate level of synthesis of new and complex ideas and sources. The thesis demonstrates engagement with a good range of primary sources material. Discussions of the source material suggest a good understanding of the challenges of working with these sources and a process of triangulation between official asylum records, government/military reports and patient accounts provide a good balanced view of the changes made to the provision of care for the mentally ill during this period and the impact of these significant changes. In some cases the insights offered, particularly by the patients own accounts through their letters offer new insights into psychiatric care in this period.
In doing so the student makes a significant contribution to the development of the discipline the history of psychiatry by exploring an under-researched area of that of the experiences of civilian and soldier patients in Scottish Asylums from the start of the First World War to middle of the interwar period.
PeriodMar 2020
Examination held at
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • History
  • Research Methods
  • Archives
  • Mental Health
  • History of Medicine