Edinburgh and South East Scotland Blood Transfusion Service

Scope and Content

Management 1930-1999; administration 1931-1985; publicity 1936-1986; history and publications 1930-1997; donors 1931-2001; photographs

Administrative / Biographical History

Origins lie in the activities of Jack R Copland, an Edinburgh dentist shocked by the death of a friend due to a lack of blood donors. A member of the Holyrood Conclave of the Order of Crusaders, founded in 1921 by Lt. General Sir Edward Bethune, Copland proposed that they set up a blood donor panel and transfusion centre for the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. This began in 1930 with 26 donors, rapidly growing to 350 by 1936. In the same year the connection with the Crusaders ceased and the Edinburgh Blood Transfusion Service was founded. As a result of demands caused by World War II, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service was set up involving five regional centres, one of which was Edinburgh and South East Scotland.


Chronological within record class

Conditions Governing Access

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 (http://www.lhsa.lib.ed.ac.uk/).

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 lhsa@ed.ac.uk

Acquisition Information

Blood Transfusion Service, Lauriston Place, July 1989


Compiled by Mike Barfoot and Jenny McDermott using existing handlists

Other Finding Aids

Manual item-level descriptive list of available


Further accessions are expected

Related Material

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (LHB1)


Fisher, David The Gift of Life: the story of the blood transfusion service in Edinburgh and the South East of Scotland. Edinburgh: Workers' Educational Association, n.d.

Masson, Alastair H.B. History of the blood transfusion service in Edinburgh. Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Blood Transfusion Association, 1993