Military Hospital




 Catholic Teacher Training College




Edward Thomson

Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland

Thank you to Edward Thomson for sending me several recollections of Edinburgh in earlier days Here, Ed has sent a photograph of an Aunt that he never met.

Ed wrote:

"The Aunt I Never Knew"

"Looking through the Thomson archives last week I found this interesting photo, if only for the uniform.

It is of  an Aunt I never met.

Aunt Louise

Louise Thomson, a nurse at Craiglockhart Military Hospital

From stories related by my late Grandmother and my Father (way back in the 1950s) I submit this for your interest.

Trained as a Nurse

"Louise Thomson was born at 3 Washington Lane Dalry Road  in 1893 and was a pupil at Tynecastle School until 1908.

 I'll investigate further because Neil McLennan, a teacher at Tynecastle High School, who is currently investigating the history of the school, tells me that the the school did not open until 1912.        -  Peter Stubbs:  April 16, 2009.

The Family moved to 105 Princes Street Perth, returning to Edinburgh at the start of WWI.

Louise had trained as a Nurse  at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Chalmers Hospital so it was natural for her to join the Red Cross and nurse wounded troops."

Craigmillar Military Hospital  -  Siegfried Sassoon

"She became a Staff Nurse at Craiglockhart Military Hospital (where the photo was taken) - a former Convent which is now  occupied by Napier University.  [But see 'Recollections 2' below.]

According to my late Grandmother, Louise was allocated to look after the famous WWI poet Siegfried Sassoon who was suffering from shellshock. Sassoon became world-famous with his Wartime writings."

Emigration to Australia

"After the War she continued with a Nursing career until 1924 when she was married to an engineer William Hird from Workington Cumbria who was working for Bruce Peebles at Pilton.

They decided to try their luck in Australia and went out to Sydney in August 1925 never to return to the U.K."

They started a fruit farm at a hamlet called Mount White in N.S.W. but until the outbreak of WWII were pretty unsuccessful. They eventually became suppliers of peaches and fruit for canning to the Military.

They also sent food parcels to my Grandmother at 13 Caledonian Place Dalry Road.  

Aunt Louise died in 1953 aged 61."

Ed Thomson, Glamis Castle, Angus, Scotland:  November 29, 2006




Bob Wyllie

Brussels, Belgium

Bob Wyllie wrote:

1880s  -  Hydropathic Institute

"Craiglockhart Military Hospital was, in fact, built as a Hydropathic Institute for the Craiglockhart Hydropathic Company in  the 1880s.

This was at a time when there was a craze for  water treatments in luxurious surroundings such as Dunblane Hydro and Peebles Hydro."

1916  -  Military Hospital

"The building continued to be used as a Hydropathic Institute until the First World War.  then, between 1916 and 1919, it was used as a military psychiatric hospital for the treatment of shell-shocked officers."  [Wikipedia]


"After the end of the First World War, the military moved out and the building became the convent that Ed mentions above."

Bob Wyllie, Brussels, Belgium:  August 25, 2008




D Parish

Colinton, Edinburgh

Thank you to D Parish for adding this message to the EdinPhoto guest book:

D Parish wrote:

Craiglockhart Military Hospital

"As a history buff, I've been asked to find any information on the former Craiglockhart Military Hospital.  What stands on the site now?

As a serving soldier in the Royal Army Medical Corps, I have an interest in military hospitals.  But my main interest in Craiglockhart Military Hospital is the WW1 poet, Wilfred Owen. I read recently that he was a former patient suffering from 'shellshock'.

Any information you can give me would be gratefully received and appreciated."

D Parish, Colinton, Edinburgh, Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  January 20, 2009




Lynda Maine

Colinton Mains, Edinburgh

After reading the message from D Parish (3 above) Lynda Maine wrote:

Craiglockhart Military Hospital

"Wilfred Owen was a patient at Craiglockhart Military Hospital.

The hospital closed down many years ago and became a convent.  The convent then closed down and became part of Napier University.

The late Charles Smith, historian, wrote about the hospital in his book 'Historic South Edinburgh'.

Historic Scotland may be able to provide more information about this building."

Lynda Maine, Colinton Mains, Edinburgh:  email:  January 21, 2009

and message posted in guest book:  January 29, 2009




Danny Callaghan

Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland

Danny Callaghan wrote:

Catholic Teacher Training College

"Craiglockhart was a Catholic teacher training college for girls in the late-1960s.     At that time, we were installing new office furniture for the Mother Superior and staff, and for some reason we were doing this in the evening.

The college was full of young women who probably in the evening never saw any men there.  As we were moving furniture about, there would be shrieks from girls going along the corridors in their baby dolls nighties, as they encountered us.  We enjoyed the sights!


The most memorable part of the evening involved the lovely main staircase with a great wide handrail.   The temptation was too much for me, so on I went and whizzed to the bottom, only to encounter the Mother Superior standing there.

I thought, oh! no!  That's blown it!    She smiled and then said, 'I've always wanted to do that', and off she went with a big smile."

Danny Callaghan, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland:  November 16, 2009



Bill Prior

Portobello, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bill Prior who wrote:


"I started my working life as an apprentice radio engineer in 1953.  Television had come to town, so radio shops also had that business.

About  1954, we delivered a brand new Philips 17 inch 'BBC only'  Television (they only became  TVs later on)  to The  Sisters of The Sacred Heart Convent  at Craiglockhart.  With all the  excitement of the young novices, it caused me great  embarrassment.

Then,  40 years later I was asked to repair a TV in Eyre Crescent  at  The Sisters of The Sacred Heart  Training Convent and met one of the  novices, now in charge.  She did not recognize me  but remembered me as  one of the installers of this wonderful gadget.

She was a most  wonderful and peaceful person, Sister Boland,  may she rest in peace."

Bill Prior, Portobello, Edinburgh:  November 15, 2010


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