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Royal Edinburgh Hospital


(Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum, Royal Edinburgh Asylum for the Insane)

Located on Tipperlinn Road, 2 miles (3 km) south southwest of the city centre, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital is a national centre of excellence for the treatment of acute psychiatric and mental health problems, including patients with learning disabilities and dementia. Operated by NHS Lothian, its specialist services include centres for the treatment of eating disorders, alcohol problems and young people's mental health. The Royal Edinburgh Hospital includes several specialist units, a University department and a Medical Research Unit. The force behind the creation of the hospital was the pioneering doctor and social reformer Dr. Andrew Duncan (1744 - 1828), who was appalled at the conditions in which those suffering mental illness were kept in Edinburgh. He was particularly distressed by the death of his own patient the poet Robert Fergusson (1750-74) who had been sent to the city's Bedlam after suffering a head injury. Thus Duncan launched a fundraising appeal and eventually, in 1806, Parliament granted 2000 from estates forfeited following the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Duncan bought a large house in Morningside and commissioned the architect Robert Reid (1774 - 1856) to design the Edinburgh Lunatic Asylum, which opened in 1813 to serve patients whose families could afford to pay. This building eventually became known as the East House to distinguish it from the West House, designed by William Burn (1789 - 1870). West House opened in 1842 for indigent patients and inmates from the old Bedlam soon transferred here. This building was expanded by David Bryce (1803-76) in 1852 and Robert Paterson (1825-89) in 1867 and a chapel added in 1884. The old East House was demolished in 1896.

By the later 19th C. the institution was known as the Royal Edinburgh Asylum for the Insane and needed to expand. Dr Thomas Clouston oversaw the acquisition of land around Old Craig House and built the Craig House Hospital. This was renamed the Thomas Clouston Clinic in 1972 but as the treatment of mental illness was deinstitutionalised in the early 1990s this facility was closed, with services concentrated back on the original Royal Edinburgh Hospital site.

The Jordanburn Lecture Theatre was added in 1934. The Andrew Duncan Clinic was named in his honour in 1964 by HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900 - 2002). The nine-storey Psychiatry Building for the University of Edinburgh came in 1966. The Orchard Clinic is a medium-secure unit for patients requiring psychiatric treatment within a secure environment.

There is a memorial to pioneering French psychologist Philippe Pinel (1745 - 1826).


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