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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
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*'Lauriston.l THE NEW ROYAL INFIRMARY. 359 aunt Elizabeth, ordered that on application for taking children into his hospital, those of the name of Davidsonshoulc! have a preference, as well as those of Watson. In June, 1741, twelve boys were admitted into it; in three years the number amounted to thirty; and in 1779 that number was doubled. , Watson's Merchant Academy, as it was named in 1870, underwent a great change in that year. The governors of the four hospitals connected with the Merchant Company, taking advantage of the Endowed Institutions (Scotland) Act, applied for and obtained provisional orders empowering them to convert the foundation into day-schools, and it was opened as one. The edifice was sold to the Corporation of the Royal Infirmary, and the building formerly occupied as the Merchant Maiden Hospital was acquired for, and is now being used as, George Watson's College School for boys. The building was long conspicuous from several points by its small spire, surmounted by a ship, the emblem of commerce. Here, then, we now find the new Royal Infirmary, one of the most extensive edifices in the city, which was formally opened on Wednesday, the 29th of October, 1879, the foundation stone having been laid in October, 1870, by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales. The situation of the infirmary is alike excellent and desirable, from its vicinity to the open pasture of the Meadows and Links, the free breezes from the hills, and to the new seat of university medical teaching. The additions and improvements at the old Royal Infirmary, and the conversion of the old High School into a Surgical Hospital, were still found unfitted for the increasing wants of the Corporation as the city grew in extent and population, as the demands of medical science increased, and the conditions'. of hospital management became more amplified and exacting ; and the necessity for some reform in the old edifit'e in Infirmary Street led to the proposal of the mmagers for rebuilding the entire Nedical House. When those contributors met to whom this bold scheme was submitted, complaints were urged as to the wants of the Surgical Hospital, and it was also referred to the committee appointed to consider the whole question, The subscription list eventually showed a total of &75,ooo, and a proposed extension of the old buildings, by the removal of certain houses at the South Bridge, was abandoned, when a new impetus was given to the movement by the late Professor James Syme, who had won a high reputation as a lecturer and anatomist. . His strictures on the 'state of the Surgical Hospital led to a discussion on the wiser policy of rebuilding the whole infirmary, coupled with a proposal, which was first suggested in the columns of the Scotsnran, that a site should be fbund for it, not near the South Bridge, but in the open neighbourhood of the Meadows. The Governors of Watsods Hospital, acting as we have stated, readily parted with the property there, and plans for the building were prepared by the late David Bryce, R.S.A., and to his nephew and partner, Mr. John Bryce, was entrusted the superintendence of their completion. In carrying out his plans Mr. Bryce was guided by the resilts of medical experience on what is known now as the cottage or pavilion system, by which a certain amount of isolation is procured, and air is freely circulated among the various blocks or portions of the whole edifice. '' When it is mentioned that of an area of eleven and a half acresthe original purchase of Watson's ground having been supplemented by the acquisition of Wharton Place-only three and a half are actually occupied with stone and lime, and that well distributed in long narrow ranges over the general surface, it will be understood that this important advantage has been fully turned to account. ' While the primary purpose of the institution has been steadily kept in view, due regard has been ha2 to its future usefulness as a means of medical and surgical education." Most picturesque is this npw grand and striking edifice from every point of view, by the great number and wonderful repetition of its circular towers, modelled after those of the Palaces of Falkland and Holyrood, while the style of the whole is the old Scottish baronial of the days of James V., the most characteristic details and features of which are completely reproduced in the main frontage, which faces the north, or street of Lauriston. The fagade here presents a central elevation IOO feet in length, three storeys in height, with a sunk basement. A prominent feature here is a tower, buttressed at its angles, and corbelled from the general line of the block, having its base opened by the main entrance, with a window on either side to light the hall. The tower rises clear of the wall-head in a square form, with round corbelled Scottish turrets at the corners, one of them containing a stair, and over all there is an octagonal slated spire, terminating in a vane, at the height of 134 feet from the ground. On the east and west rise stacks of ornamental chimneys. The elevations on each side of this tower are uniform, with turrets at each corner, and three rows of windows, the upper gableted above the line of the eaving-slates.
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