Lothian Hospital Histories

City Hospital

In 1867 the Public Health (Scotland) Act gave power to local authorities to make provision for the treatment of infectious diseases during periods of epidemics. In 1871 the Town Council of Edinburgh prepared the Canongate Poorhouse for that purpose. Further, as the Managers of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) refused to admit cases of smallpox or cholera, premises in King's Stables Road and in part of the poorhouse in Forrest Road were fitted up as temporary hospitals to meet any emergency that might arise.

After the RIE moved to Lauriston Place in 1879 its Managers used Old Surgeons' Hall for the treatment of infectious fevers during ordinary seasons. In 1881, on the advice of Sir Henry Littlejohn, the Medical Officer of Health, the Town Council purchased from the Infirmary its old Adam medical building in Infirmary Street and the two surgical hospitals in High School Yards. The old Medical Hospital was demolished in 1884, and in 1885 the Council purchased the Old Surgeons' Hall from the RIE. In this way the treatment of infectious diseases came to be concentrated in High School Yards. This complex of buildings was known as the City Fever Hospital.

In 1903 the City Fever Hospital moved to its present site at Colinton Mains, where it became the City Hospital for Infectious Diseases.

By the 1960s the hospital, by now called simply the City Hospital, was no longer restricted to the treatment of infectious diseases. It also treated tropical diseases, and it had surgical departments for chest and thoracic surgery. In 1965 it took on the treatment of in-patients from the RIE's Ear Nose and Throat Department, which now confined itself to seeing out-patients.

In 1948 the City Hospital became part of the Edinburgh Royal Victoria Hospital group of South Eastern Regional Hospital Board. It came under South Lothian District of Lothian Health Board in 1974, and after 1984 it was part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals Unit and subsequently the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh NHS Trust. In preparation for its closure in 1999, services began to be transferred out of the City Hospital from 1997.

City Hospital records