Western General Hospital

Scope and Content

Administration 1930-1984; plans and buildings 1954-1985; patients (bound volumes) 1930-1966

Administrative / Biographical History

Origins lie in Craigleith Hospital and Poorhouse (1868). This served as an Army hospital during World War One. In 1929, the Local Government (Scotland) Act was passed. When this came into effect a year later, all poor law hospitals were transferred to the administration of large burghs and counties. As a 200 bed municipal hospital it opened to the general public and teaching facilities were soon introduced. Between 1941 and 1949 part of the Western General was given over to the Polish School of Medicine at Edinburgh and became known as the Paderewski Hospital. In 1948 it became part of Edinburgh Northern Hospitals under the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board. In 1974 it was part of the North Lothian District of Lothian Health Board. In 1986 it became part of the Royal Victoria, Western and Northern General Hospital Unit of Lothian Health Board and in 1994 the Western General NHS Trust Hospital. Presently it is part of the Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust.


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 (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

Western General Admin and Community Medicine Specialists and J. Knowles, Medical Records Officer, Western General


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


Further accessions are expected

Related Material

Edinburgh Northern Hospitals Board of Management (LHB11)Edinburgh Northern Hospitals Board of Management (LHB11)North Lothian District, Lothian Health Board (LHB27) North Lothian District, Lothian Health Board (LHB27) Paderewski Hospital, Edinburgh University Archives Paderewski Hospital, Edinburgh University Archives Polish Medical School, Edinburgh University Archives


Eastwood, Martine and Jenkinson, Anne. A history of the Western General Hospital: Craigleith Poorhouse, military hospital, modern teaching hospital. Edinburgh: John Donald, 1995.