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Deaconess Garden

A small public park situated to the south of West Richmond Street on the South Side of Edinburgh, the Deaconess Garden comprises an area of grass and flower borders, surrounded by cherry trees. It is planted with around 5000 bulbs. A tree was planted to commemorate the centenary of the Church of Scotland Women's Guild in 1987. The St. Leonard's Medical Centre was built on part of the garden in 2000. The garden takes its name from the Deaconess Hospital, which lay opposite, and the Order of Deaconesses. The Order was established in 1888 by The Very Rev. Professor Archibald Charteris (1835 - 1908) to train nurses to work amongst the poor of Edinburgh. The park was once developed with housing and divided by South Richmond Street, but the houses were demolished in the early 1930s. This was also the location of the Royal Public Dispensary of Edinburgh, the first institution of its type in Scotland, founded in 1776 by Dr. Andrew Duncan (1744 - 1828) and established here in purpose-built premises in 1783. This provided the poor of Edinburgh with free medical advice but also had a role in training medical students. On the formation of the National Health Service in 1948, the Dispensary was re-established as the University of Edinburgh's Department of General Practice, which is now located on the opposite side of West Richmond Street.


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