National Records of Scotland

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Sir Alexander Morison (1779-1866)

Sir Alexander Morison (1779-1866)

Pioneer of psychiatric medicine

Alexander Morison studied and practised medicine in Edinburgh. He was interested in mental illness and in 1810 became inspecting physician of asylums in Surrey. He lectured and published on cases of mental disease and his observations of their treatments. He was elected President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1827 and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London in 1841. He was also physician-in-ordinary to Princess Charlotte and from 1835 physician at the Bethlehem Hospital. He was knighted in 1838.

Birth in 1779

Alexander Morison (here given as Murison) was born on 1 May 1779, the son of Andrew Murison, Writer in Edinburgh and Mary Herdman, College Kirk parish. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Edinburgh is for one of several baptisms on 31 May 1779 and gives the witnesses as Alexander Forbes, Writer to the Signet and Alexander Forbes, writer in Edinburgh.

Birth and baptism entry for Alexander Morison

Birth and baptism entry for Alexander Morison (31 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/36, page 255

Marriage in 1799

Alexander Morison, surgeon married Mary Ann Cushnie on 26 March 1799. The entry in the Old Parish Register for Edinburgh shows that they were both of St Andrews Church parish and that Mary's father was Alexander Cushnie, late merchant in Aberdeen.

Marriage entry for Alexander Morison

Marriage entry for Alexander Morison (16 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 685-1/52, page 288

1861 census

In 1861 Alexr Morrison, 81, physician was enumerated at Johnsburn. The census return for the parish of Currie shows the household included his second wife, Grace, 51, who was born in Hackney in Middlesex.

1861 census return for Alexander Morison

Detail from 1861 census return for Alexander Morison (39 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1861/682/6, page 4

Death in 1866

Sir Alexander Morison MD, 87, died at 4:15 pm on 14 March 1866 at Balerno Hill House. The entry in the statutory register for the parish of Currie in the county of Edinburgh (now Midlothian) gives the names of his two wives - Mary Ann Cushnie and Grace Young. The informant was his grandson,  Alexander Morison, who wasn't present at the death.

Death entry for Sir Alexander Morison

Death entry for Sir Alexander Morison (51 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, 1866/682/7

Testament of Alexander Morison, Knight

(National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/130, pages 655-662)

An inventory of Sir Alexander Morison's estate was registered at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 5 July 1866. It lists assets in Scotland and England. The latter included rent due from his property at 26 Cavendish Square in London and quarterly pensions from the Lunatic Asylum of the County of Surrey and Bethlehem Hospital.

Inventory of Sir Alexander Morison

Detail from inventory of Sir Alexander Morison (279 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, SC70/1/130, page 658