Lothian Hospital Histories

Chalmers Hospital

Chalmers Hospital owes its foundation to a bequest made by the Edinburgh plumber and burgess George Chalmers (1773-1836). Chalmers left the residue of his estate to the "Dean and Faculty of Advocates for the express purpose of founding a New Infirmary or Sick and Hurt Hospital, or by whatever name it may be Designed". The money was, at first, insufficient for that purpose and so it was invested in Government stock. By 1854 it had increased sufficiently for the Faculty to purchase Lauriston House with its 7.5 acres of ground. Two acres were reserved for the hospital and the rest was feued. The house was let out as a boarding school and the money was again allowed to accumulate.

In 1860 building of the hospital began to the plans of architect J. Dick Peddie. There were to be 48 beds in four wards. In February 1864 the two lower wards were opened to non-paying patients. In 1872 the two upper wards were opened to patients who could pay 3/- per day. In 1887 a small apartment for nurses was opened. It lay between the wine cellar and the mortuary. By 1892 many complaints were being received about the poor standard of nursing care. An extensive improvement programme was undertaken.

In 1939 the hospital was requisitioned by the Government for the reception of civilian casualties. In 1948, with the introduction of the National Health Service, the hospital lost its private beds, and in 1951 the Hospital for Diseases of Women in Archibald Place amalgamated with Chalmers, becoming its annexe.

From 1948 Chalmers Hospital came under the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board, being in the Edinburgh Central Hospitals group until 1970 and thereafter transferring to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associateed Hospitals. In 1974 it came under South Lothian District of Lothian Health Board as part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals Unit, and subsequently came within the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh NHS Trust and Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust.


Chalmers Hospital records