Basic Site Details

Name: Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
City or county: Edinburgh
Country: Scotland
Grid ref:
Notes: The new infirmary at Edinburgh was opened on Wednesday. The late Mr D. Bryce, RSA, was intrusted with the planning of the buildings, of which his nephew and partner, Mr John Bryce, has superintended the completion. The style adopted is the old Scotch Baronial. The Lauriston facade presents a central elevation 100 feet long, with the height of three stories, in addition to a half-sunk basement. From each side of this central building, which is partly appropriated as administrative accommodation, there run out, in the same line, three tiers of corridors giving access to the wards of the Surgical Hospital, and offering, in the front view, as many ranges of large three-light windows surmounted by a stone balustrade. These corridors are continued from end to end of the buildings, and on their north side there are carried out, at right angles, towards Lauriston, four pavilions or blocks of wards, severally measuring 128 feet in length, with an extreme width of 33 feet 2in. In their side elevations the several pavilions show ranges of plain windows, the walls being relieved with string-courses and diversified at the top with stepped gables, small turrets, and chimneys characteristic of the style. The masonry throughout is ashlar, with tooled facings to doors, windows, and gable-heads. There is accommodation for 600 patients. The amount of space provided for each patient varies from 2,350 to 2,380 cubic feet, as compared with 1,800 cubic feet allowed in St Thomas' Hospital, London, and 1,226 cubic feet in Fort Warren, Massachusetts. [Building News 31 October 1879 p536]

CHECK 1890s journal references - are these for work by George Washington Browne?

Structural Engineers Phase 1 Blyth & Blyth; Service Engineers Steensen, Varming & Mulcahy; QS George Berry & Partners; main contractor W & J R Watson

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Hospital  

Street Addresses

The following street addresses are associated with this building:
 AddressMain entrance?Notes
Item 1 of 21, Lauriston Place Old address
Item 2 of 21, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11,13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, Simpson Loan and numbers 22, 23, 25 And 26.

New address 2011.


The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 1618701876  
Item 2 of 1618761879 Work completed October 1879
Item 3 of 161885  Increased accommodation
Item 4 of 1618911892 Extensions
Item 5 of 16After 1903Before 1911 Additions
Item 6 of 16After 1906Before 1912 Nurses' quarters (possibly a conversion of terraced houses on Archibald Place?) and additions
Item 7 of 161934  Additions
Item 8 of 161955 Plans prepared, construction not yet begunRedevelopment - phase I
Item 9 of 1627 June 1958 Proposed'Tenders invited for work in connection with modification of West Entrance and erection of Porter's Lodge...Applications to Secretary and Treasurer, Royal Infirmary.' per Builder p1198
Item 10 of 1617 October 1958 Proposed'improvements...Est. cost 13,000' per Builder p675
Item 11 of 1625 November 1960 Proposedrebuilding of Royal Infirmary; teaching hospital and research centre with 800 beds as part of 20m. teaching hospital and medical centre development scheme in Scotland per Builder p1004
Item 12 of 161961 ProposedProposed reconstruction of the Royal Infirmary on the same site. Schemes were explored by Robert Matthew & Johnson-Marshall, with Professor Richard Llewelyn Davies as consultant. A block model was prepared as a feasibility study. Providing an 800-bed teaching hospital at a cost between 7-9million. Over a period of six years, replacing a number of existing buildings. (AJ, 2nd March 1961)
Item 13 of 1627 January 1961 Plans prepared, construction not yet begunfor new 800-bed teaching hospital with associated academic departments and labs, out-patient department, residential area and training facilities for hospital technicians and nurses; 12-storey ward block and acadmic and lab block on a podium; proposes demolition of the old Infirmay and retention of the Florence Nightingale Nurses' Home [223316] and the Simpson Maternity Pavilion [211108] per Builder p201
Item 14 of 161970s Addition 
Item 15 of 1619751981Build/constructionFirst phase of redevelopment begun - to replace facilities to be demolished in succeeding phases. Ij the upper levels 65 flats for student nursesand pupil midwives, overnight rooms for staff on call, outpatients clinicfor dermatology, ENT, and genito-urinary medicine and related academic departments. Blood tranfusion unit at ground level. Lower levels will contain changing rooms, mortuary and post-nortem facilities. Boiler pnat below these.
Item 16 of 161980 Won award or awardsStructural Steel Design Commendation for boilerhouse chimney


Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 30Percy Murray A(?)1981Associate overseeing Royal Infirmary project until its eventual completion in 1981
Item 2 of 30David Bryce  18701876Main block
Item 3 of 30John Bryce II (or John Bryce (junior))  18761879Completion of work
Item 4 of 30Arthur George Sydney Mitchell B1885 Increased accommodation
Item 5 of 30George Wilson B1885 Increased accommodation - as assistant to Sydney Mitchell
Item 6 of 30George Washington Browne  1891(?)1892(?)Operating theatres (date uncertain, but 1890s journal references may refer to this work)
Item 7 of 30(Sir) Robert Rowand Anderson CAfter 1903Before 1911Additions
Item 8 of 30Arthur Forman Balfour Paul CAfter 1903Before 1911Additions
Item 9 of 30Rowand Anderson & Paul CAfter 1903Before 1911Additions
Item 10 of 30Robert Reid Mill  19041921Unspecified work, as architect and surveyor of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (with the exception of the war years)
Item 11 of 30Cousin, Ormiston & Taylor DAfter 1906Before 1912Nurses' quarters (possibly a conversion of terraced houses on Archibald Place?) and additions - Taylor responsible
Item 12 of 30Henry ('Harry') Ramsay Taylor DAfter 1906Before 1912Nurses' quarters (possibly a conversion of terraced houses on Archibald Place?) and additions
Item 13 of 30Thomas W Turnbull  1936 Additions
Item 14 of 30Robert Hogg Matthew J1955 Phase I - redevelopment
Item 15 of 30Robert Jestyn Gwent Forestier-Walker J1955(?)  
Item 16 of 30Thomas ('Tom') Riddell Spaven J19551981Redevelopment- phase I
Item 17 of 30Robert Matthew Johnson-Marshall (RMJM) J19561961Phase I - redevelopment (begun prior to partnership, continued by RMJM & Partners after 1961)
Item 18 of 30Richard Llewelyn Davies (Professor Lord)  1959 Consulting architect (to Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners).
Item 19 of 30Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners (RMJM) J19611981Phase I - redevelopment (begun prior to the adoption of this practice title)
Item 20 of 30Archibald James Campbell Clark J1970s Redevelopment - in particular the Outpatients Department, working with Kenneth Graham
Item 21 of 30Kenneth Edward Graham J1970s Working on re-development - particularly the Outpatients Department
Item 22 of 30Donald McInnes S1970s Extensions
Item 23 of 30E R Manson S1970s Extensions
Item 24 of 30F A Scrutton S1970s Extensions
Item 25 of 30G Wilson S1970s Extensions
Item 26 of 30J D Wren S1970s Extensions
Item 27 of 30K A Shaw S1970s Extensions
Item 28 of 30T Harley Haddow & Partners S1970s Extensions
Item 29 of 30T J Bell S1970s Extensions
Item 30 of 30Thomas Harley Haddow S1970s Extensions


The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
Item 1 of 2Managers of the Royal Infirmary 
Item 2 of 2South East Regional Hospital BoardFor redevelopment 1950s

Related Buildings, Structures and Designs

Child Structures

This structure or site has the following component or child structures (click on an item to view details):
 Building NameNotes
Item 1 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Kidney Unit60,000
Item 2 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Pathology Department 
Item 3 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, blood transfusion extension 
Item 4 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, boiler house 
Item 5 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, cardiac operating suiteStructural Engineers Blyth & Blyth; Servies Engineers Steensen, Varming Mulcahy & Partners; QS James Gentles & Son; Main Contractor Taylor Woodrow
Item 6 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Congenital Abnormalities Research Unit 
Item 7 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Department of Haematology and operating theatres 
Item 8 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Diamond Jubilee Pavilion 
Item 9 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Ear Nose and Throat and Optical Pavilions 
Item 10 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, east gates and lodge 
Item 11 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Florence Nightingale Nurses' Home 
Item 12 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, heart and lung theatres 
Item 13 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Laundry 
Item 14 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Nurses' Home 
Item 15 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Observation Hospital 
Item 16 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Reproductive Biology BuildingQS Gibson & Simpson; Main contractor G Percy Trentham Ltd
Item 17 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion 
Item 18 of 20Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, temporary development 
Item 19 of 20George Watson's Hospital, lodge and gates 
Item 20 of 20Quartermile DevelopmentCreation of new city quarter in and around the site of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on Lauriston Place.

The development will include 600 new homes, retail and lesuire units, 650 000 sq ft of office space and an hotel.

Development includes the conversion of substantial parts of the old ERI complex, including the Surgical Block and the Sidney Mitchell buildings, as well as a number of new multi storey blocks to Lauriston Place and the Meadows.


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
Item 1 of 10Gifford, John, McWilliam, Colin and Walker, David M1984Edinburgh (The Buildings of Scotland) Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltdp259
Item 2 of 10Glendinning, M, MacInnes, R and MacKechnie, A1996A History of Scottish Architecture  p582
Item 3 of 10Glendinning, Miles2008Modern architect: the life and times of Robert Matthew RIBA Publishingp299,445
Item 4 of 10Groome, Francis H Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland (1882-85) Edinburgh, London & Glasgow: Thomas C Jack, Grange Publishing Worksvol II, p523
Item 5 of 10RIBA1981Directory of Practices 1981   
Item 6 of 10Richardson, HarrietN.D.Scottish Hospitals Survey Unpublished typescript (copy in DMW Archive)Listed as Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
Item 7 of 10RSA1871   998
Item 8 of 10Turner, A Logan1929The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Bicentenary Year   
Item 9 of 10Turner, A Logan1937The Story of a Great Hospital: The Royal Infirmary Edinburgh 1729-1929First edition  
Item 10 of 10Turner, A Logan1979The Story of a Great HospitalSecond edition?  

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 15Architect and Building News1934Jul-Dec p226
Item 2 of 15Architects Journal2 March 1961  p339 'Reconstruction of the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh'
Item 3 of 15Builder27 May 1876XXXIV Obituary of David Bryce
Item 4 of 15Builder31 January 1891LX 'Proposed extension'
Item 5 of 15Builder9 April 1892LXII Plans for extension approved
Item 6 of 15Builder27 June 1958  p1198
Item 7 of 15Builder17 October 1958  p675
Item 8 of 15Builder25 November 1960  '20m. Hospitals Programme' p1004
Item 9 of 15Builder27 January 1961  'Edinburgh Royal Infirmary' pp201-202; photo of model on p201
Item 10 of 15Building News31 October 1879  p536 - opening
Item 11 of 15Building News9 October 1885   
Item 12 of 15Building News30 October 1891  'Proposed extension'
Item 13 of 15Building News8 January 1892  Additions
Item 14 of 15Illustrated London News11 November 1879   
Item 15 of 15RIBA Journal12 September 1938 London: Royal Institute of British ArchitectsObituary of Arthur Forman Balfour Paul

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 8Courtesy of Archie ClarkInformation sent to Dictionary website Sent September 2014
Item 2 of 8Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register30306Main block including ward pavilions
Item 3 of 8Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register30307Medical pavilions
Item 4 of 8National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSDrawings Collection Original drawings 1999/83
Item 5 of 8National Monuments Record of Scotland/NMRS, RCAHMSHarry Ramsay Taylor's Newsaper Cutting Book (report on Charlton monument has a biography & joblist)  
Item 6 of 8RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers Arthur Forman Balfour Paul: L v20 no1511
Item 7 of 8Royal Infirmary ArchivesRoyal Infirmary Minute Books vols 23-28, 1866-1876
Item 8 of 8Royal Infirmary ArchivesRoyal Infirmary Plans perspective views 12 August 1870; scale drawings 1872-1876