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Old and New Edinburgh Vol. IV


358 OLD -4KD NEW EDINBURGH. ELauristollr - _ .. . . . whom were the Duke of Buccleuch, the Earl 01 Stair, and Sir William Stirling-Maxwell, of Pollock and Keir, with an acting committee, at the head of whom were the Lord Provost, the Principal, Sir Alexander Grant, Bart., and Professor Sir Robert Christison, Bart., D.C.L. The project was started in 1874, and commenced fairly in 1878. The architect was Mr. R. Rowand Anderson, and the cost of the whole, when finished, was estimated at about ,t;250,000. The first portion erected was the southern block, comprising the departments of anatomy, surgery, practice of physic, physiology, pathology, midwifery, and a portion of the chemistry. The frontage to the Meadow Walk presents a bold and semicircular bay, occupied by the pathology and midwifery department. An agreeable variety, ,but general harmony of style, characterises the buildings as a whole, and this arose from the architect adhering strictly to sound principle, in studying first his interior accommodation, and then allowing it to express itself in the external elevations. The square block at the sjouthem end of the Meadow Walk, near the entrance to George Square, is chiefly for the department of physiology ; whilst the south front is to a large extent occupied by anatomy. . The hall for the study of practical anatomy is lighted by windows in the roof and an inner court facing to the north, a southern light being deemed unnecessary or undesirable. The blank wall thus left on the south forms an effective foil to the pillared windows of the physiology class-room, at one end, and to some suitable openings, similarly treated, which serve to light hat and coat rooms, &c., at the other. In the eastern frontage to Park Place, where the departments of anatomy, physic, and surgery, are 'placed, a prominent feature in the design is produced by the exigencies of internal accommodation. As it was deemed unnecessary in the central part of the edifice to carry the groundfloor so far forward as the one immediately above, the projecting portion of the latter is supported by massive stone trusses, or brackets, which produce a series of deep shadows with a bold and picturesque effect. The inner court is separated from the chief quadrangle of the building by a noble hall upwards of IOO feet long, for the accommodation of the University anatomical museum. It has two tiers of galleries, and is approached by a handsome vestibule with roof groined in stone, and supported by pillars of red sandstone. The quadrangle is closed in to the west, north, and east, by extensive rmges of apartments for the accommodation of chemistry, materia medica, and medical jurisprudence. The north front faces Teviot Row, and in it is the chief entrance to the quadrangle by a massive gateway, which forms one of the leading architectural features of the design. When the building devoted to educational purposes shall have been completed, there will only remain to be built the great college hall and campanile, which are to complete the east face of the design. Including the grant of &3o,ooo obtained from Government, the whole amount at the disposal of the building committee is about &18o,ooo. For the erection of the hall and tower a further sum of about &5o,ooo or ~60,000 is supposed to be necessary. The new Royal Infirmary, on the western side Ff the Meadow Walk, occupies the grounds of George \.Vatson's Hospital, and is engrafted on that edifice. The latter was bnilt in what was then a spacious field, lying southward of the city wall. The founder, who was born in 1650, the year of Cromwell's ipvasion, was descended from a family which for some generations had been merchants in Edinburgh; but, by the death of his father, John Watson, and the second marriage of his mother, George and his brother were left to the care of destiny. A paternal aunt, Elizabeth Watson, or Davidson, however, provided for their maintenance and education ; but George being her favourite, she bound him as an apprentice to a merchant in the city, and after visiting Holland to improve his knowledge of business, she gave him a small sum wherewith to start on his own account. He returned to Scotland, in the year 1676, when he entered the service of Sir James Dick, knight, and merchant of Edinburgh, as his clerk or book-keeper, who some time after allowed him to transact, in a mercantile way, certain affairs in the course of exchange between Edinburgh and London on his own. behalf. In 1695 he became accountant to the Bank of Scotland, and died in April, 1723, and by his will bequeathed ;~;IZ,OOO to endow a hospital for the maintenance and instruction of the male children and grandchildren of decayed merchants in Edinburgh ; and by the statutes of trustees, a preference was given to the sons and grandsons of members of the Edinburgh Merchant Company. The money left by the prudent management of the governors was improved to about &20,000 sterling befort they began the erection of the hospital in 1738, in a field of seven acres belonging to Heriot's Trust. George Watson, in gratitude for the benefits conferred upon him in his friendless boyhood by his
Volume 4 Page 358
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