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Deaconess


(Deaconess House, Deaconess Hospital, Lady Grisell Baillie Memorial Hospital)

A block of self-catering student residences on the Pleasance in Edinburgh, overlooking Salisbury Crags to the rear, Deaconess (or Deaconess House) is located a quarter-mile (0.5 km) northeast of the University of Edinburgh's George Square campus and a half-mile (1 km) southeast of the city centre. Opened in 2014, having cost 14.5 million, Deaconess is a refurbished former hospital building which has been extended with a new-build block to the rear to provide accommodation for 315 students. Restoration of the existing sandstone structure was undertaken, while the new block combines geometric natural stone and powder-coated aluminium panels, and includes an open courtyard area.

Deaconess has 280 en-suite single bedrooms arranged in three, five or six bedrooms flats, each with a kitchen and dining area. There is also a common room, cycle storage and laundry facilities. There are also 35 self-contained single-person studio apartments. The residences are a joint venture between the University of Edinburgh and Mace Real Estate, designed by London-based Kalyvides Partnership and built by Graham Construction.

In 1888, the Order of Deaconesses was established by The Very Rev. Professor Archibald Charteris (1835 - 1908), a visionary Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. St. Ninian's Mission opened in 1889 on the Pleasance to work amongst the poor of Central Edinburgh and soon provided living accommodation for the Deaconesses. Charteris ensured that the Lady Grisell Baillie Hospital (later Deaconess Hospital) was built adjacent, opening in 1894 with 24 beds and providing the Deaconesses with training as nurses. The original building was in red sandstone with a little Gothic detailing. An architecturally more interesting extension was constructed in buff sandstone in 1897, which features corbelling, crow-stepped and Dutch gables and a Romanesque entrance. The hospital had expanded to 68 beds by the end of the First World War, and was reconstructed and extended 1934-36. This work included an additional floor with a flat roof on the original building by A.F. Balfour Paul (1875 - 1938). It provided both home-visiting and midwifery services. Having closed as a hospital in 1990, Deaconess House became the headquarters of Lothian Health Board until 2010, when they moved to Waverley Gate. The subsequent redevelopment involved demolishing unsuitable buildings at the rear, including a former library and nurses' residence.

The Charteris Memorial Church was built adjacent in 1912, to commemorate Charteris' involvement.


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