City Hospital

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 239 LHB23
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      11.5 shelf metres: bound volumes, papers, photographic material

Scope and Content

Administration 1887-1994; nursing 1889-1993; patients (bound and unbound records) 1894-1990

Administrative / Biographical History

The origin of the hospital lies in Edinburgh Town Council's use of Canongate Poorhouse for epidemic infectious diseases from 1871. Local authorities in Scotland were required to make such provision under the terms of the Public Health (Scotland) Act of 1867. Around this time the Royal Infirmary refused to admit cases of smallpox and cholera and further emergency accommodation was arranged it part of the City Poorhouse at Forrest Road. When the Infirmary moved to Lauriston Place in 1879, the Town Council acquired the Infirmary's old buildings in the High School Yards area. Under the control of Sir Henry Littlejohn, the City Medical Officer of Health, this became known as the City Fever Hospital. In 1903 it moved to a new site at Colinton Mains and became know as the City Hospital for Infectious Diseases. In 1948 the City Hospital became part of the Board of Management of the Royal Victoria and Associated Hospitals. In 1974 it was part of the South Lothian District of Lothian Health Board. After 1984 it was part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh&Associated Hospitals Unit and subsequently the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh National Health Service Trust Hospital. From 1997, most of the hospital services were transferred from the City to other hospitals in the area following ongoing restructuring programmes. The hospital finally closed in March 2002.


Chronological within record class

Access Information

Public access to these records is governed by the UK Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 and the latest version of the Scottish Government Records Management: NHS Code of Practice (Scotland). Whilst some records may be accessed freely by researchers, the aforementioned legislation and guidelines mean that records with sensitive information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time.

Where records are about named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Records about individuals below 18 years (living or deceased) or adults not proven to be deceased will be open 100 years after the latest date in the record, on the next 01 January. Further information on legislation and guidelines covering medical records can be found on the LHSA webpage (

LHSA can support the use of records closed to public access for legitimate clinical, historical and genealogical research purposes. Please contact the LHSA Archivist for more details regarding procedures on how you can apply for permission to view closed records. Telephone us on: 0131 650 3392 or email us at

Acquisition Information

Medical Records Officer, City Hospital, November 1983


Compiled by Mike Barfoot and Jenny McDermott using existing handlists

Other Finding Aids

Manual item-level descriptive list available

Custodial History

Records held within the National Health Service prior to transfer


No further accessions are expected

Related Material

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Gray, James A., The Edinburgh City Hospital, Tuckwell Press 2000