Edinburgh Bookshelf

Old and New Edinburgh Vol. II


North Bridge.] THE ORPHAN HOSPITAL 359 c CHAPTER XLVI: EAST SIDE OF THE NORTH BRIDGE (concZdeJJ. The Old Orphan Hospital-Its Foundation. Object, and Removal-Lady Glenorchy?s Chapel-Her Disputes with the Presbytery-Dr. SnelI Jones-Demolition of the Chapel and School-Old Physic Gardens Formed-The Gardens-Sir Andrew Balfm-James Sutherland- Inundated in x68pSutherland?s Efforts to Improve the Gardcn-Professor Hope. ABOUT IOO feet east of the bridge, and the same distance south of the theatre which Whitefield to his dismay saw built in the park of the Orphan Hospital, stood the latter edifice, the slender, pointed spire of which was a conspicuous object in this quarter of the city. A hospital for the maintenance and education of orphan children was originally designed by Mr. Andrew Gardiner, merchant, and some other citizens, in 1732. The suggestion met with the approval of the Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, then located in what was anciently named Bassandyne?s Close ; and it was moreover assisted by liberal subscriptions and collections at the church doors. At first a house was hired, and thirty orphans placed in it. According to Maitland, in November, 1733, the hospital was founded; it stood 340 feet northwest of the Trinity College Church, and in its formation a part of the burial ground attached to the latter was used. In 1738 the Town Council granted the hospital a seal of cause, and in 1742 they obtained royal letters patent creating it a corporation, by which most of the Scottish officers of State, and the heads of different societies in Edinburgh, are constituent members. This chanty is so extensive in its benevolence, that children from any part of the British Empire have the right of admission, SO far as the funds will admit-indigence, and the number of children in a poor family being the None, however, are admitted under the age of seven, or retained after they are past fourteen, as at that time of life the managers are seldom at a loss to dispose of them, ?the young folks,? says Arnot, ? choosing to follow trades, and the public entertaining so good an opinion of the manner in which they have been brought up, that manufacturers and others are very ready to take them into their employment. There are about,? he adds, in 1779, ?one hundred orpham maintained in this hospital.? This number was increased in 1781, when Mr. Thomas Tod, merchant in Edinburgh, became treasurer. It was then greatly enlarged for the better accommodation of the children, ?? and to enable them to perform a variety of work, from the . best title to it. produce of which the expenses of their education and maintenance were lessened, and healthy and cheerful exercise furnished, suitable to their years.? It is remarkable,? says Kincaid, ? that from January, 1784, to January, 1787, out of from 130 to 140 young children not one has died. A particular account of the rise, progress, present state, and intended enlargement of this hospital was publisted by the treasurer (Mr. Tod), wherein is a print of the elevation, with two wings,.which the managers intend to build so soon as the funds will permit, when there will be room for zoo orphans.? In its slender spire hung two bells, and therein also stood the ancient clock of the Netherbow Port, now in use at the Dean. The revenues were inconsiderable, and it was chiefly supported by benefactions and collections made at the churches in the city. Howard, the philanthropist, who visited it more than once, and made himself acquainted with the constitution and management of this hospital, Acknowledged it to be one of the best and most useful charities in Europe. A portrait of him hangs in the new Orphan Hospital at the Dean, the old building we have described having been removed in 1845 by the operations of the North British Railway, and consequently being now a thing of the past, like the chapel of Lady Glenorchy, which shared the same fate at the same time. This edifice stood in the low ground, between the Orphan Hospital and the Trinity College Church, about 300 feet eastward of the north arch of the Bridge. Wilhelmina Maxwell, Viscountess Dowaget of John Viscount Glenorchy, who was a kind of Scottish Countess of Huntingdon in her day, was the foundress of this chapel, which was a plain, lofty stone building, but neatly fitted up- within with two great galleries, that ran round the sides of the edifice, and was long a conspicuous object to all who crossed the Bridge. It was seated for 2,000 persons, and the middle was appropriated to the poor, who sat there gratis to the number of some hundreds. ?? Whether,? says Arnot, ?before Lady Glenorchy founded this institution there were churches sufficient for accommodating the inhabitants we shall not pretend to determine. Such, indeed, is the demand for seats, and so little arg
Volume 2 Page 359
  Shrink Shrink   Print Print