GD2 Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Samaritan Society

Collection Summary


Reference Code: GB239 GD2
Title: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Samaritan Society
Dates of Creation of Material: 1879-2008
Level of Description: Fonds
Extent and Medium of the Unit of Description: 3.7 shelf metres: bound volumes, papers


Name of creator(s): Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Samaritan Society
Administrative History: Mrs Elizabeth Cleghorn, the daughter of Lord Cockburn and widow of the Sheriff of Argyll, began in 1874 to help destitute patients in the medical wards of the Royal Infirmary. She visited wards, distributing clothing and sometimes money. When she appealed to her friends for help, the response was so great that, in 1879, a formal organisation was created: the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Samaritan Society. The original aim was to assist patients and their dependants with clothes and money and if the patient were the bread-winner, to help him find employment. Gradually the work was expanded to encompass all the Edinburgh hospitals. Almoners were appointed to identify patients in need, visit their homes and provide help and guidance. From 1923 the Infirmary appointed its own almoners, who worked in parallel with those of the Samaritan Society. In 1948 the Society's almoners were transferred to the Infirmary's social service staff. Even after the National Health Service came into being the Samaritans continued to work as a voluntary organisation. Their Committee of Management meets regularly with the Hospital's social work staff, in consultation with whom they make grants to tide patients and their families over until official help is given. Sometimes help is also provided in ways not covered by statutory rules and regulations. For a more comprehensive history of the Society see The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Samaritan Society, 1879-1979 (GD2/9/2).
Archival History: Transferred to National Library of Scotland
Immediate Source of Acquisition or Transfer: Ian Cunningham, Keeper of Manuscripts, NLS, March 1995


Scope and Content: Management 1879-2009; administration 1889-1979; cases 1902-1994
Accruals: Further accessions are expected
System of Arrangement: Chronological within record class


Conditions Governing Access: Access is subject to the terms of the NHS Records Management Code of Practice 2010, the UK Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002
Conditions Governing Reproduction: Reproduction is subject to closure periods and physical condition
Language/Scripts of Material: English

Related Units of Description:
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (LHB1)
Publication Note:
Kelly, Molly Davidson and Bowden, Peggy. The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Samaritan Society 1879-1979 [Edinburgh: The Society, 1979]


Archivists' Notes: Compiled by Mike Barfoot and Jenny McDermott using existing handlists
Rules or Conventions: Description based on ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description International Council on Archives (2nd edition), 2000
Date(s) of Description: May 2000; last updated August 2009