Sep 082017
 

Grave of Archbald PitcairneGreyfriars Kirkyard, 1 Greyfriars, Edinburgh EH1 2QQ

There has been much debate among historian about the extent ot which the Scottish Enlightenment was a consequence of the Union with England in 1707. The existence of figures such as Archibald Pitcairne (1652–1713) provides powerful ammunition fo those who trace the roots of the Scottish Enlightenment back to before the Union. Pitcairne was an noted Edinburgh physician and scholar. He had been professor of medicine at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, but returned to Edinburgh in 1693. He was also an important early disciple of Isaac Newton, one of a group of Edinburgh Newtonians who played a significant role in the spread of Newton’s theories. His satirical writings criticising the Church earned him a reputation as an atheist and freethinker. Other inportant Edinburgh virtuosi, as they are sometimes called, included Sir Robert Sibbald (1641–1722) and Andrew Balfour (1630–94).

 

Portrait of Archibald Pitcairnce (1652-1713) by Rob Stranae.

Portrait of Archibald Pitcairne (1652-1713) by Robert Strange.

Inscription on the grave of Archibald Pitcairne.

Inscription on the grave of Archibald Pitcairne.

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Mar 242017
 

9 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.

The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh was established by Royal Charter in 1681. Its 21 founding members included such notable figures as Sir Robert Sibbald, Andrew Balfour, Thomas Burnet, Alexander Stevenson and Archibald Pitcairn. Then as now, it was responsible for the training and certification of physicians. Originally based in Fountain Close on the Cowgate, after a period occupying a variety of other premises the RCPE moved to its current purpose-built premises in Queen Street after its completion in 1846.

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Robert Sibbald (1641–1722).

Robert Sibbald (1641–1722).

 

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Mar 082016
 

Site of Edinburgh physic gardenPlatform 11, Waverley Station, Edinburgh EH1 1BB

From 1675 to 1763 the Edinburgh Physic Garden was near what is now platform 11 of Waverley Station. At the time it was close to the shores of a small lake, the Nor’ Loch. The site is now marked with a blue plaque. The garden had originally been established at Holyrood in 1670 by Sir Robert Sibbald and Sir Andrew Balfour, founder members of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. They were inspired to found it by similar gardens they had seen in France. It existed to provide medicinal plants and to teach botany to medical students.

 

Physic Garden commemorative plaque, Waverley Station

Plaque commemorating the site of Edinburgh’s physic garden, opposite platform 11, Waverley Station.

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