Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh

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Royal Hospital for Sick Children
NHS Lothian
Royal Hospital For Sick Children, Sciennes.jpg
Location Edinburgh, Scotland
Care system NHS
Hospital type Teaching hospital, specialist
Affiliated university University of Edinburgh
Emergency department Yes
Founded 1860
1863 (Royal Charter)
Lists Hospitals in Scotland

The Royal Hospital for Sick Children is a hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, specialising in paediatric healthcare. Locally, it is commonly referred to simply as the Sick Kids. The hospital provides care for children from birth to around 13 years of age, including a specialist Accident and Emergency facility. The hospital is located on Sciennes Road in the Sciennes area of Edinburgh's South Side.


Royal Arms carving over the main entrance

The hospital opened in 1860 at 7 Lauriston Lane and was the first dedicated children's hospital in Scotland.[1] It received a royal charter in 1863, when it moved to the Meadowside House.[2] The conversion of the house into a hospital was carried out by the architect David Macgibbon.[3] In 1890 an outbreak of typhoid forced a temporary removal to Plewlands House, Morningside,[3] and Meadowside House was subsequently sold.[2] The site of the Trades Maiden Hospital (established by Mary Erskine) at Rillbank was bought in the early 1890s,[4] and plans for a new hospital were put in hand to designs by George Washington Browne. The Sciennes Road building cost £50,000[5] was opened on 31 October 1895 by Princess Beatrice.[6] In 1948, the hospital became part of the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board, and between 1974 and 1984 it was part of the District of Lothian Health Board. At present it is part of Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust.[7] The hospital celebrated its 150th birthday in 2010.

Architecture of the Sciennes Site[edit]

View of the Mortuary Chapel Murals by Phoebe Anna Traquair
View of the Mortuary Chapel Murals by Phoebe Anna Traquair

Various of the buildings that make up the hospital at the Sciennes Road site have listed building status designated by Historic Environment Scotland.

Future of the hospital[edit]

In 2005, NHS Lothian decided to develop plans to move the Sick Kids from its present site to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France on the south-east edge of the city. A business case for the project was approved by the Scottish Government in January 2012. The new facility was expected to open in mid-2017[9] but has been delayed by construction issues including contractors going into administration and poor weather. It is now expected to open in 2018.[10] The new building at Little France will also accommodate the department of clinical neurosciences who will move across from the Western General Hospital and the department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) who will move from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.[11] The new hospital will have 233 beds[12] and is being built under the Scottish Futures Trust.[13]

In December 2016 the existing site was offered for sale as a development opportunity with the expectation of significant interest.[10] In February 2017 a local community development trust was formed to support a bid by residents to acquire the site.[14] The building and site were eventually sold to a Liverpool-based property developer.[15]

When the hospital moves to its new location in Little France, it will be renamed as the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People.[16]


In 2011, 6-year old Jack Henderson made the headlines by raising money for the hospital that cared for his brother, in exchange for drawings he had created. He originally planned to raise £100, but quickly raised £10,000.[17] A book, Jack Draws Anything, was published in October 2011.[18] After 3 years the fundraising total exceeded £64,000 and the project was brought to an end in June 2014.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Main U-Plan Block, including boundary walls and paired Gatepiers to south, excluding early 20th century former outpatients block to Sylvan Place and excluding all additions to west and north, Sciennes Road, Edinburgh". Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Royal Hospital for Sick Children History". NHS Lothian. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Richardson, Harriet (2017-01-22). "Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh". Historic Hospitals. Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  4. ^ "Scran ::: Trades' Maiden Hospital, Edinburgh". Scran. Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  5. ^ LHSA. "The Story of the 'Sick Kids' Hospital". Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  6. ^ "Royal Hospital for Sick Children: listed building report". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  7. ^ LHSA. "Royal Edinburgh Hospital for Sick Children collection summary". Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  9. ^ "Outline Business Case - Re-provision of RHSC and DCN at Little France" (PDF). NHS Lothian. January 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "For sale: Edinburgh's historic Sick Kids hospital put on market". Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  11. ^ "New Edinburgh Sick Children's building gets go ahead". BBC News. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "RHSC + DCN - Little France". NHS Lothian. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "New Edinburgh children's hospital plans unveiled". BBC News. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Edinburgh's Sick Kids community buy-out on cards". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  15. ^ Christie, Kevan (15 September 2017). "Edinburgh Sick Kids hospital sold to developers". The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 January 2018. 
  16. ^ Snead, Florence (1 May 2017). "New Edinburgh's Sick Kids hospital changes 150-year-old name". The Scotsman. Retrieved 16 January 2018. 
  17. ^ "Jack Henderson hits £10,000 for Sick Kids in Edinburgh". BBC News (Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland). 4 April 2011. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  18. ^ Sulieman, Cara (23 May 2011). "Jack Draws Anything: Six-year-old behind the website signs book deal". STV News. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "The end". Jack Draws Anything. Retrieved 17 July 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°56′18″N 3°11′20″W / 55.93833°N 3.18889°W / 55.93833; -3.18889 [needs update]