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Royal Edinburgh Hospital

The Royal Edinburgh Hospital is a psychiatric hospital in Morningside Place, Edinburgh, Scotland. It is managed by NHS Lothian.[1]

Royal Edinburgh Hospital
NHS Lothian
Royal Edinburgh Hospital Memorial.jpg
Memorial in the grounds of the hospital
Royal Edinburgh Hospital is located in Edinburgh
Royal Edinburgh Hospital
Shown in Edinburgh
LocationEdinburgh, Scotland.
Coordinates55°55′39″N 3°12′56″W / 55.9274°N 3.2155°W / 55.9274; -3.2155Coordinates: 55°55′39″N 3°12′56″W / 55.9274°N 3.2155°W / 55.9274; -3.2155
Hospital typePsychiatric hospital
Other linksList of hospitals in Scotland



The hospital was founded by Dr Andrew Duncan, following the death of Robert Fergusson, a Scottish poet who died in 1774 following mental health problems caused by a head injury.[2] Duncan wanted to establish a hospital in Edinburgh that would care for the mentally ill of the city and after launching an appeal in 1792 a grant of £2,000 was approved by Parliament in 1806.[2] A Royal charter was granted by King George III in 1807 and the facility was then established as a public body.[3] A villa in Morningside, along with four acres of land, was then purchased and in 1809 the foundation stone was laid.[4] The facility was opened as the Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum in 1813.[5]

The asylum originally consisted of a building called East House which accepted only paying patients, but a second building called West House, designed by William Burn and commissioned to intended to accommodate poorer patients, opened in 1842.[6] The inmates of Edinburgh's bedlam were later admitted in 1844.[7]

The asylum's first Physician Superintendent Dr William MacKinnon, who took up the post in 1839, encouraged patients to be active through skills and hobbies they already possessed, including gardening, pig farming, carpentry, sewing, tailoring, poultry keeping, and curling.[7][6] Shortly thereafter, in 1845, the asylum installed a printing press and the hospital began to produce a monthly magazine, the Morningside Mirror.[6]

The hospital joined the National Health Service in 1948 and the Andrew Duncan Clinic opened in 1965.[8] A 15 tonne work known as Abraham was carved in granite by sculptor Ronald Rae in the grounds of the hospital in 1982[9] and the Rivers Centre, a clinic for the treatment of Posttraumatic stress disorder established in memory of the pioneering psychiatrist William Rivers, opened in 1997.[10]

A modern hospital was procured under the Scottish government's non-profit distributing model in January 2015.[11][12] The first phase of the new hospital was built by Morrison Construction at a cost of £45 million and completed in January 2017.[13]

Notable StaffEdit

Notable staff have included:

  • David Skae was appointed as the Physician Superintendent of the Royal Edinburgh Asylum in 1846, and he held this title until 1872.[14]
  • Sir Thomas Clouston succeeded David Skae as Physician Superintendent in 1873 and remained in post until 1908.[15][16]
  • Sir John Sibbald FRSE was Deputy Commissioner from 1870 to 1879 and as Commissioner from 1879 to 1899.[16]


  1. ^ "Royal Edinburgh Hospital". NHS Lothian. 28 August 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Royal Edinburgh Hospital History". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  3. ^ LHSA. "Royal charter of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  4. ^ LHSA. "Royal Edinburgh Hospital collection summary". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  5. ^ "Our Organisation: About Us: Our History: Royal Edinburgh Hospital History". NHS Lothian. 1 June 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  6. ^ a b c LHSA. "Royal Edinburgh Hospital history". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  7. ^ a b NHS Lothian (July 2010). "The Royal Edinburgh Hospital: A guide for patients, relatives and carers" (PDF). Retrieved 14 Nov 2018.
  8. ^ "Royal Edinburgh Hospital". Historic Hospitals. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Abraham". Ronald Rae. 2009-09-05. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  10. ^ "Rivers Centre" (PDF). NHS Lothian. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Galliford Try closes on £45m Edinburgh hospital". Building. 5 January 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Nicola Sturgeon hails £400m hospital fund". BBC News. 2 November 2014. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  13. ^ "NHS Lothian gets keys to Royal Edinburgh Hospital". Building Better Healthcare. 3 January 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  14. ^ BARFOOT, MICHAEL (October 2009). "David Skae: Resident Asylum Physician; Scientific General Practitioner of Insanity". Medical History. 53 (4): 469–488. ISSN 0025-7273. PMC 2766139. PMID 19876510.
  15. ^ Bewley, Thomas. "Online archive 9: Thomas Smith Clouston (1840-1915)" (PDF). Royal College of Psychiatrists. Retrieved 14 Nov 2018.
  16. ^ a b Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.

External linksEdit