Tam's Tall Tales

- Edinburgh Infirmary site gets an Injection of Cash

The Meadows, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Quartermile Development

The Meadows, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Quartermile Development and Jawbone Walk

The Meadows
The area near the old Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh is one of my favourites in Scotland's Capital. Known as "The Meadows" it is a large public park to the south of the town centre, a wonderful open space where people can walk, enjoy a picnic and, over the summer months, people organise cricket matches. Largely made up of open grassland crossed by tree-lined paths, there is also a children's playground, a croquet club, tennis courts and sport pitches. It is bordered by the University of Edinburgh's George Square campus and the new Quartermile development on the site of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to the north. To the south-west it becomes Bruntsfield Links where there is a free, public "pitch and putt" golf course. The area is the traditional practice ground of the Royal Company of Archers, whose meeting-place is nearby. In 1827 an Act of Parliament protected the Meadows from being built upon. You have to watch out for the designated cycle tracks though. While cyclists think it is appropriate to cycle on any pedestrian areas throughout the city, woe betide anyone walking on their pathways! The graphic of the Meadows on the right is by Richard Webb, via Wikimedia Commons.

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, known locally as the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, ERI or just The Royal, was established in 1729 and is the oldest hospital funded by charitable donations in Scotland. It was also known, at first, as the Hospital for the Sick Poor, the Physicians' Hospital, or Little House. In 1879, the infirmary moved to a new location on Lauriston Place, with the Meadows to the rear. The graphic here of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Clock Tower is via Wikimedia Commons. In 1948, the infirmary was incorporated into the National Health Service (NHS). Then in 2003 a new 900-bed Royal Infirmary opened at Little France which is on the southern edge of the city. The graphic on the left of the clock tower in the hospital buildings, is via Wikimedia Commons.

Quartermile Development The earlier Victorian hospital on Lauriston Place beside the Meadows was sold in 2001, a few years after my own dodgy appendix was whipped out, and its redevelopment is continuing with an investment of 80 million. New buildings are being grafted onto the original structure and the so-called Quartermile Development is a blend of offices and, hotels, restaurants, shops and some pretty swanky apartments which can sell for over 1 million.

I have taken a few pictures of the south side of the development which faces the Meadows (see top of this page). The graphic on the right showing part of the old hospital and part of the new development was taken in Lauriston Place and is via Wikimedia Commons.

Jawbone Walk

An exception to city council rules against building on the land was allowed for the temporary large glass pavilion of the 1886 International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art. The whale's jawbones now forming an arch over the Meadows path called Jawbone Walk originally decorated the display stand of the Zetland and Fair Isle Knitters Association as part of that exhibition. After that was demolished, the jawbone arch was allowed to remain. The structure consists of four whale jawbones placed vertically and meeting at the top. In 2104 the Jawbone was removed for a lengthy repair. The graphic here of the Jawbone is by Lisa Jarvis and is from Wikimedia Commons.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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