Apr 172016

52 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 3NS

James Young Simpson's house

In this house on 4 November 1847 James Young Simpson, professor of medicine and midwifery at Edinburgh University, discovered the effects of chloroform, the first widely used anaesthetic. Simpson and some of his medical friends used to spend their evenings testing the effects of various chemical substances on themselves in the hope of finding an effective anaesthetic. On this particular evening they decided to try chloroform, which had first been sythesised in 1831. This instantly rendered all three of them unconscious until the next morning. On waking up, Simpson realised he  had found what he was looking for.

No public access.

James Young Simpson (1811–70).

James Young Simpson (1811–70).

Plaque on the wall of James Young Simpson's former house.

Plaque on the wall of James Young Simpson’s former house.

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  One Response to “House of James Young Simpson”

  1. 52 Queens Street was previously owned by Robert Stodart, London Piano Maker. He retired back to Scotland at an early age, leaving the piano business to his nephews, William & Mathew Stodart.

    I had the good fortune to view inside the property several years ago, the staff member taking us round noted the ‘S’ formed on the stair banisters, stating that Simpson probably had this done; alternatively Robert Stodart could equally have had it done. At Kellie Castle , there is a portrait of Robert Stodart, and a Robert Stodart Grand Piano.

    Robert Stodart’s grave is in the New Calton Cemetery, near the Watch Tower. Phil Stodart.

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