Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
Four Hospital Sites
Since it was founded in 1729, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh has been on
four different sites.
1. The original Edinburgh Infirmary, Hospital for the Sick Poor, Physicians'
Hospital, or Little House was located at the head of Robertson's Close. This
hospital had only four beds, but received the Royal Charter in 1836.
2. The hospital moved to larger premises in High School Yards, near Infirmary
Street in 1741. These were designed by William Adams. There were 228 beds and
12 cells in the basement for "lunatics". It was here that Professor James Young
Simpson first demonstrated the anaesthetic properties of Chloroform.
3. Work began In 1872 on a new hospital on a 'clean air' site in Lauriston
Place, opposite George Heriot's School, built to replace the Edinburgh Royal
Infirmary in High School Yards. The Lauriston Place hospital opened in 1879 and
continued in use until May 1, 2003.
The hospital is now, in 2002, in the process of moving to its latest site, a new
£184m building at Little France in the southern suburbs of Edinburgh.
Thank you to Peter
Kirk, Swanston, Edinburgh for giving me the location of the original Edinburgh
Infirmary, and for giving me details of the web site.
Further details have
been added from an article in the Edinburgh Evening News, January 20, 2007,
Royal Infirmary - Robertson's Close
Founded 1729, Royal Charter 1736
I have not yet
found any pictures of this building
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
High School Yards
Work began on the hospital in 1741
Work began on building this hospital in 1741
Edinburgh Infirmary at Infirmary Street was demolished in 1884.
column from the infirmary's colonnade was used the following
year to create a monument to the Covenanters (1666), outside
Dreghorn Barracks in Redford Road.
also commemorates the Romans, Cromwell in 1650 and Charles
Edward Stuart in 1745
details above are taken from the Edinburgh University School of
Geoscience web site, which also includes a photograph of the
Royal Infirmary -
The hospital opened in 1879
The Birds-Eye View of the
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary from the
north-east (scroll up the page to see it) clearly shows the
lay-out of the site. In the background, the open area of land is
David Bryce was invited to design the hospital
in 1872. His design was built and opened in 1879. It occupied
this site close to the centre of Edinburgh, between
George Heriot's School and
The Meadows, until very recently.
Royal Infirmary at Lauriston Place is
now (2002) about to close and be replaced by
a new hospital being built at Little France in the SE suburbs of
The Lauriston Place site is to be redeveloped as housing,
offices and hotel.
Southside Capital, have proposed a major redevelopment of this
site, demolishing several of the buildings and constructing a
large complex of shops, housing and offices.
is known as 'Quartermile' because it is a quarter of a mile away
from Edinburgh Castle.
initial plans met with objections, so have been cut back.
Plans for a £400m
development, with buildings up to ten storeys high were submitted
to the Council in April 03. These plans have also been criticised
by heritage bodies who are unhappy with the mass and height of
some of he buildings.
Council considered this Planning Application on 10 April 03 and
[Edinburgh Evening News: 4 April 03, page 9 AND 10 April 03, page
Please click on
this link for an update on the
Quartermile plans for redeveloping the former site of the
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in Lauriston Place
The New Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
- Little France
hospital opened in 2002
The 'New Edinburgh Royal
Royal Infirmary moved to a new
purpose-built hospital at Little France, beside
the A7, Edinburgh to Dalkeith road, about 4 miles SE of the
centre of Edinburgh in 2002.