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Edinburgh, Crewe Road South, Western General Hospital

Hospital (19th Century), Hospital (First World War), Poor House (19th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Crewe Road South, Western General Hospital

Classification Hospital (19th Century), Hospital (First World War), Poor House (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) 2nd Scottish General Hospital; Craigleith Hospital; Craigleith Poorhouse; St Cuthberts Poorhouse

Canmore ID 154558

Site Number NT27NW 34

NGR NT 23003 75008

NGR Description Centred on NT 23003 75008

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

World War One Audit of Surviving Remains (4 October 2013)

In 1915 what was then the St Cuthbert's or Craigleith Poorhouse was taken over as a military hospital, became the 2nd Scottish General Hospital. The hospital provided beds for 30 officers and 1.002 other ranks. The impressive main building of the poor house survives in the southern part of what is now the Western General Hospital complex.

Information from HS/RCAHMS World War One Audit Project (GJB) 4 October 2013.

Sir Basil Spence

Building Notes

In 1954 South-Eastern Regional Hospital Board appointed Basil Spence & Partners and John Holt (Regional Architect S.E Regional Hospital Board) as architects for the proposed extensions to the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. Work began in January 1956 and was completed in April 1958. The project involved the construction of two new operating theatres and a boiler-room.

Archive Details and Summary

The Sir Basil Spence Archive contains one manuscript folder and one drawing relating to the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh. The manuscript folder contains a news-cutting announcing that Spence had been awarded the commission. The drawing shows details of the new operating theatre block. There are no photographs relating to this building.

The Spence, Glover & Ferguson Collection, which is also held by RCAHMS, contains 78 photographs and 84 drawings relating to this project which was run from the Edinburgh office of Spence's practice.

This text was written as one of the outputs of the Sir Basil Spence Archive Project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, 2005-08.

Architecture Notes (6 May 2021)

Operating theatres numbers 16 and 17 were two late 1950's (opened 1960) purpose-built neurology operating theatres, housed in the then Department of Surgical Neurology (later Clinical Neurosciences) built to an original design by renowned surgeon Norman Dott, one of the world's first Professors of Neuro-Surgery.

The operating theatres have reflector vaulted rooves to avoid shadows being thrown on either patient or surgeon during operations as well as a few viewing 'portholes' to allow viewing into the operating theatres from above. The Department of Clinical Neurosciences moved in 2020-21 to a new site at The Edinburgh Royal Infirmary site at Little France and the building housing the operating theatres was planned for demolition.

Architecture Notes

NT27NW 34.00 23003 75008

ARCHITECT: David and John Bryce, 1880.

Originally St Cuthbert's Poorhouse

Previously known as 2nd Scottish General Hospital


Project (March 2013 - September 2013)

A project to characterise the quantity and quality of the Scottish resource of known surviving remains of the First World War. Carried out in partnership between Historic Scotland and RCAHMS.


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