Family History Research at LHSA

Information relating to donations and financial contributions

Prior to the inception of the NHS in 1948, Scottish health care combined elements of voluntary, municipal, provident, private and government provision.  Donations and legacies were vitally important to hospitals such as the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and lists are provided each year in the hospital’s Annual Reports.  The Annual Reports also usually record major bequests.

Some of the wealthier donors were prepared to sponsor a hospital bed or sometimes a whole ward.  These donations were often recorded, for example:

Hospital Reference


Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh LHB1/38/11

Donations from Patients, 1914-1926. Also lists of donations to be recorded on Donor Boards, Bed Tablets, etc, 1920 (2 items)


List of Wards, Beds and Departments named after benefactors, compiled to 1941. Indexed folder.

Prior to the NHS, some hospitals charged for their services with payments being made by the patient’s parish in many cases but also privately in others.  The records of payments may disclose names and addresses of other family members, for example:

Hospital Reference Description
Royal Edinburgh Hospital LHB7/27 Board Books, 1841-1947

To get started

1) Look up the collection catalogue for the particular hospital you are interested in to find out what records are available.

Edinburgh and Lothian Hospital Catalogues

Dingleton Hospital

Advice on Searching our Catalogues

2) Contact us to make an appointment to come in and consult the records, or to make an enquiry.

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