Deaconess Hospital

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 239 LHB12
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      10.5 shelf metres: bound volumes, papers, photographic material

Scope and Content

Management 1910-1948; administration 1894-1964; finance 1903-1948; Publications and photographs 1894-1948; staff 1926-1948; nursing 1894-1967; patients (bound and unbound records) 1894-1967

Administrative / Biographical History

Founded by the Church of Scotland in 1894 to train Deaconesses for missionary work at home and abroad, the hospital also provided a much needed medical service to the local community living in the Pleasance and Cowgate area. Deaconesses spent a year there as part of their training, or a further two if they wished to become fully qualified nurses. Extensions to the original building in 1897 and 1912 increased the number of beds available and an out-patient department was also added. Further extension occurred in the 1930s, and the Deaconess also began a home visiting or district service. In 1948 it became part of the Edinburgh Southern Hospitals within the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board. In 1974 it became part of the South Lothian District of Lothian Health Board. After 1984 it joined the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals Unit. The Deaconess closed in 1990, and now renamed as Deaconess House it houses the headquarters of Lothian Health.


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

Church of Scotland via Hazel Horne, Scottish Record Office, January 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

Edinburgh Southern Hospitals Board of Management (LHB9)Edinburgh Southern Hospitals Board of Management (LHB9)Pathology Department, University of Edinburgh (GD20)Pathology Department, University of Edinburgh (GD20)Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (LHB1)Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (LHB1)Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Samaritan Society (GD2)Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Samaritan Society (GD2)South Lothian District, Lothian Health Board (LHB28).