Aug 102020

Royal Edinburgh Hospital: Tipperlinn Road, EH10 5HF

The redeveloped entrance to the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.

The Royal Edinburgh Hospital is a psychiatric hospital. The hospital was founded by Dr Andrew Duncan, who was moved by the death of a patient, 24-year-old poet Robert Fergusson, to open a hospital that cared for the mentally ill with greater dignity. Originally called the Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum, the hospital opened its doors in 1813. The first superintendent of the hospital was Dr William Mackinnon. He encouraged patients to use their trades and skills, such as animal care, carpentry, and tailoring. The hospital’s patients even started producing a magazine called The Morningside Mirror. In 1889, New Craig House was built by the designs of Dr Thomas Coulston. He believed that for successful treatment it was important that patients’ surroundings be bright and pleasant. The new building was meant to replicate the feeling of staying in a luxury country house, rather than an institution. The facility was built to accommodate the hospital’s wealthiest patients, the layout of New Craig House, therefore, includes quarters for personal staff. Craighouse quickly became the largest mental health facility in Scotland and remains unrivalled in Scottish hospital architecture to this day. In 1972, Old Craig House was renamed the Thomas Coulston clinic. The Royal Edinburgh Hospital is being redeveloped from

Photo showing the back of Craig House from the grounds.
Memorial to notable figures in the development of mental health care in the grounds of the Edinburgh Royal Hospital. The bust is of the French doctor, Philippe Pinel (1745-1826), whose humane approach to patient care was a major influence on the Hospital’s founders. The medallion at the top right portrays Dr Andrew Duncan who was the driving force behind its creation following the disgust he felt at the death of his patient, the poet Robert Fergusson, in the horrible conditions of the old Edinburgh bedlam. Although Duncan’s original building from 1807 no longer exists, the hospital contains an Andrew Duncan Clinic named in his honour.
(2010, CC-SA by Kim Traynor)