Mar 242017
 

Site of old Royal Medical Society.1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD

On this site stood the hall of the Royal Medical Society between 1852 and 1966. The Society was, and still is,  run by students at the University of Edinburgh Medical School. First founded by a group of medical students as the ‘Medical Society’ in 1737, it received its Royal Charter in 1778. The Society has had many illustrious members over the years, including Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin and Joseph Lister. It is still in existence but has now moved to new premises on Bristo Square.

Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh plaque.

Royal Medical Society of Edinburgh plaque.

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Royal Medical Society

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Jul 252016
 

Hutton's sectionRadical Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AL

At this site James Hutton found proof for his theory that heat plays an essential role in rock formation.  He believed that a band of molten rock had been injected into older strata long after the formation of the surrounding rock. During Charles Darwin’s time as a medical student in Edinburgh in 1825-7 he accompanied the professor of natural history, Robert Jameson, on a field trips to Salisbury Crags. Darwin later recalled being deeply unimpressed by Jameson’s explanation that these intrusive rocks had been deposited from above by precipitation from the sea rather than injected as magma from below.

A plaque at the site give some interesting information on its history and significance.

Caricature of James Hutton (1726-97).

Caricature of James Hutton (1726-97).

Plaque at Hutton's Section.

Plaque at Hutton’s Section.

Charles Darwin (1809–82).

Charles Darwin (1809–82).

 

Portrait of Robert Jameson (1774–1854) by one of his students, c.1831.

Portrait of Robert Jameson (1774–1854) by one of his students, c.1831.

 

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Apr 192016
 

3 Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh EH3 6AP

Fleeming Jenkin's house

Fleeming Jenkin was appointed by Queen Victoria as the first Regius Professor of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. He is now best known for raising an important objection to Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. In 1867 Jenkin argued that any favourable mutation that arose in one individual of a species would  be rapidly swamped by interbreeding with a large population of normal individuals. This argument depended on the belief that characteristics of parents  were simply ‘blended’ in the offspring. The rise of modern genetics, which invalidated the ‘blending’ model of inheritance, eventually resolved this problem, but it presented a serious problem for Darwin’s theory at the time.

No public access.

Fleeming Jenkin (1833–85).

Fleeming Jenkin (1833–85).

 

 

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Apr 172016
 

11 Lothian Street, Edinburgh EH1 1HE

Charles Darwin's lodgings

It was here that Charles Darwin lodged in the house of Mrs Mackay when a medical student in Edinburgh in 1825-27. He was not an enthusiastic student and left without finishing his degree. In Edinburgh he met Robert Edmond Grant, a lecturer in John Barclay’s anatomy school and an enthusiastic advocate of evolution. On one of their regular zoological collecting trips together Grant apparently ‘burst forth in admiration’ of  Jean-Baptiste Lamarck’s evolutionary theories. Darwin later claimed, perhaps disingenuously, that he had listened to Grant ‘as far as I can judge, without any effect on my mind’.

No public access. The original building no longer survives.

Charles Darwin (1809–82).

Charles Darwin (1809–82).

Robert Edmond Grant (1793-1874).

Robert Edmond Grant (1793-1874).

Plaque marking the site of Darwin's lodgings.

Plaque marking the site of Darwin’s lodgings.

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Mar 042016
 

10 Surgeon’s Square, Edinburgh EH1 1LZ

surgeon's square

At number 10 Surgeon’s Square Robert Knox ran his extra-mural anatomy school from the death of its original proprietor, John Barclay, in 1826 until 1844. Knox bought the bodies of many of the victims of Burke and Hare. He was a flamboyant character, whose controversial views made him popular with his students. Although he was found innocent of any involvement in the murders, the scandal ruined his career. Robert Grant, who taught invertebrate zoology in the same school, was an early evolutionary thinker and friend of Charles Darwin while a student in Edinburgh in 1825-27.

No public access.

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