Jane Muir Symington 


John wrote

‘Her name is Jane Muir Symington, sometimes called Jean, or Jeanie. She has an interesting, if tragic, back story,


She was a single mother in 1888, in an age where this was not socially acceptable, I suspect this may have some bearing on her being in Hartwood. She was there from as early as 1901, very sad really.

My Mother was 93.

She began telling me a story of how her Granny sent her alone on a train to Allanton , when she was 14yrs of age, carrying a white bowl of food every week as her Mum didn’t like the food in hospital .

From there she had to walk to Hartwood to the clock tower building where her Mum had been staying as a voluntary patient because ‘of her nerves’.

I endeavoured to find out more about my Gran and her nerves and the ‘shock treatment’ she received.

It was then we discovered that in fact my Great Grandfather , her Dad, had spent most of his life in Hartwood with ‘Religous Mania’ and in fact was buried there too.

We were told ‘he left’. No-one ever mentioned his name, he had ‘just gone’.

He ‘Edward Murphy’ admitted in 1911 and died 1939, never left Hartwood.

It was devastating to read all about him in the big leather ‘lunatic asylum book’ at the Heritage Centre in Motherwell.

But now, he is remembered.

‘An agreeable, pleasant fellow’ it said.

Wasn’t allowed out as he asked to go home every day, he was an ‘escape risk’.

He and my Great Grandmother married at 16years of age and had one child, my Gran.

I have no photo of Edward my great Grandfather.

My daughter and myself visited yesterday for the first time, Edward had visitors at his graveside. We took rocks and shells from beaches around Scotland that he never got to see.


Jane's life and memory was pretty much erased by her family and John has made it his mission to put her name, and her life, back on the map.