Chalmers Hospital

Scope and Content

Management 1861-1949; finance 1947-1960; administration 1913-1990; history of the hospital 1926-1975; staff 1894-1978; nursing 1938-1986; patients (bound records) 1901-1983

Administrative / Biographical History

Founded through a bequest to the Faculty of Advocates by George Chalmers (1773-1836), an Edinburgh plumber and burgess. Lauriston House was purchased and the Hospital opened in 1872, taking a mixture of private and non-paying patients. It was requisitioned for injured civilians in 1939. Private beds were lost with the coming of the NHS in 1948. In 1951 Chalmers amalgamated with the Hospital for Diseases of Women Edinburgh. From 1948-1970, it was part of the Edinburgh Central Hospitals of South Eastern Regional Hospital Board and was with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals Board of Management, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals Unit and Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh National Health Service Trust thereafter.


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

A Masson, October 1984, and R. Purves, RIE NHS Trust, November 1998


Records and minutes of the Chalmers Trust are held by the Faculty of Advocates

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 Central Hospitals Board of Management (LHB29) Hospital for Diseases of Women Edinburgh (LHB31).Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (LHB1)Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals Board of Management (LHB2) Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Samaritan Society (GD2)South Lothian District, Lothian Health Board (LHB28)


Boog Watson, W.N. A short history of Chalmers Hospital. Edinburgh: Livingstone, 1964.