Drummond Street, Edinburgh

Last updated

Drummond Street
University building, Drummond Street - geograph.org.uk - 1352882.jpg
The building which houses the university's Institute of Geography, was once part of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
Former name(s) Back Wall
Length 0.2 mi (0.3 km)
Postal code EH8 9
Coordinates 55°56′52″N3°11′02″W / 55.94775°N 3.18402°W / 55.94775; -3.18402
west end A7
east end The Pleasance

Drummond Street is a street just outside Edinburgh's Old Town, near the famous Royal Mile and Holyrood. The street connects the South Bridge (A7), where it is opposite the Old College, and the Pleasance. The street is paved with granite setts. It is in an area with several University properties and is home to many students as well as pubs and restaurants.



Originally called Back Wall as the street was just outside the city wall, it was from the 1850s named after George Drummond. [1]


One famous former resident is David Bowie, who shared a small basement flat in Drummond Street with the mime artist Lindsay Kemp for several months in the early 1970s. [2]

The street is the site of the former Drummond Street Surgical Hospital which was built in 1853 by David Bryce [3] [4] as an addition to the Royal Infirmary in Infirmary Street. The February 1850 Monthly Journal of Medical Science records the plans for building the hospital as follows:

The new building will stand upon an elevated piece of ground, presenting every facility for drainage, and will front Drummond Street. It will supersede the necessity for several out-buildings, in which surgical cases are at present rather uncomfortably accommodated, and which will be removed. The surgical hospital, in its new form, will contain beds for 200 patients.

Monthly Journal of Medical Science [5]

At the junction of Drummond Street and the Pleasance can be found some vestiges of a bastion of the Flodden Wall. [6] The wall travels from that bastion along the north side of the street. [7] The section fronting the old surgical hospital has been reduced to four feet in height but still comprises the stones of the original. [1]

On 4 November 1857, John Gamgee set up the New Edinburgh Veterinary College, one of three veterinary colleges being established in Edinburgh at the time, in stable courtyard premises at 6 Drummond Street. The college received its royal sign manual, necessary to allow students to be examined by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, in March 1859. [8] [9] Gamgee recognised that the Drummond Street location was not ideal and by 1862 had moved his college to the west side of Lothian Road on a site now occupied by the Caledonian Hotel. [10] [11]

Dr. John Smith, with his friends Frances Imlach, Peter Orphoot and Robert Nasmyth, opened the Edinburgh Dental Dispensary at 1 Drummond Street in January 1860. In 1862 it moved to premises in Cockburn Street. [12] [13]

At the west end of the street was Rutherford's Bar, [14] patronized in the time of Robert Louis Stevenson and by members of The Speculative Society at the University. Their weekly meetings were held on Tuesdays, officially from 8 p.m. to midnight. [15] Lord Guthrie, joint president of the Society with Stevenson in the years 18721873 and 18731874, recalls in his personal memoirs of Stevenson:

About nine we adjourned for half an hour, when most members left "to buy pencils", as they gravely informed any new-comer, a euphemism for a visit to Rutherford's public-house in Drummond Street, otherwise (also euphemistically) known as "The Pump".

Lord Guthrie, Robert Louis Stevenson Some Personal Recollections [16]

The premises were remodelled in 1899 and had a U-shaped bar. The internal fittings were lost in further modernization. The property is now an Italian restaurant, the decor of which is in homage to Stevenson's Treasure Island. Surviving from 1899 is the timber Ionic pilastered frontage with the trademark of Rutherford and Company (dated 1834) in an arched panel above.

A former first floor café on the corner with Nicolson Street is reputedly where J. K. Rowling began writing the Harry Potter series. [17]

Related Research Articles

Joseph Lister British surgeon and antiseptic pioneer (1827–1912)

Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, was a British surgeon, medical scientist, experimental pathologist and a pioneer of antiseptic surgery and preventative medicine. Joseph Lister revolutionised the craft of surgery in the same manner that John Hunter revolutionised the science of surgery.

Sampson Gamgee

Dr Joseph Sampson Gamgee, MRCS, FRSE was a surgeon at the Queen's Hospital in Birmingham, England. He pioneered aseptic surgery, and, in 1880 invented Gamgee Tissue, an absorbent cotton wool and gauze surgical dressing.

Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Scottish medical association

The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) is a professional organisation of surgeons. The College has seven active faculties, covering a broad spectrum of surgical, dental, and other medical practices. Its main campus is located on Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, within the Surgeons' Hall, designed by William Henry Playfair, and adjoining buildings. The main campus includes a skills laboratory, the Surgeons' Hall Museums, a medical and surgical library, and a hotel. A second office was opened in Birmingham (UK) in 2014 and an international office opened in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2018.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland

The Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) is a large teaching hospital. With a capacity of around 1,000 beds, the hospital campus covers an area of around 8 hectares, situated on the north-eastern edge of the city centre of Glasgow, Scotland. It is managed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. It was originally opened in 1794, with the present main building dating from 1914.

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, or RIE, often known as the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, or ERI, was established in 1729 and is the oldest voluntary hospital in Scotland. The new buildings of 1879 were claimed to be the largest voluntary hospital in the United Kingdom, and later on, the Empire. The hospital moved to a new 900 bed site in 2003 in Little France. It is the site of clinical medicine teaching as well as a teaching hospital for the University of Edinburgh Medical School. In 1960, the first successful kidney transplant performed in the UK was at this hospital. In 1964, the world's first coronary care unit was established at the hospital. It is the only site for liver, pancreas and pancreatic islet cell transplantation and one of two sites for kidney transplantation in Scotland. In 2012, the Emergency Department had 113,000 patient attendances, the highest number in Scotland. It is managed by NHS Lothian.

Louisa Stevenson LLD was a Scottish campaigner for women's university education, women's suffrage and effective, well-organised nursing.

Sir John Fraser, 1st Baronet, was Regius Professor of Clinical Surgery at Edinburgh University from 1925 to 1944 and served as principal of the University of Edinburgh from 1944 to 1947.

Meath Hospital Hospital in Dublin, Ireland

The Meath Hospital was a general hospital in the Earl of Meath's Liberty in Dublin, Ireland. It was absorbed into the Tallaght Hospital in June 1998.

The University of Edinburgh Medical School is the medical school of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the United Kingdom and part of the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, the head of which is Moira Whyte, who has also been head of the school since 2016. It was established in 1726, during the Scottish Enlightenment, making it the oldest medical school in the United Kingdom and is one of the oldest medical schools in the English-speaking world.

Allan Burns was a Scottish surgeon and physician. A lecturer on surgery and anatomy at Glasgow, he studied medicine in Glasgow. He visited Russia in 1804 and he published anatomical treatises. He was the son of Revd Dr John Burns, a minister of the Barony Church, and Elizabeth Stevenson. Of his brothers, Dr John Burns (1775–1850) became Regius Professor of Surgery at the University of Glasgow; James was a shipowner and George was his partner in G & J Burns.

Sir Charles Fergusson Forbes, KH was an English army surgeon.

Dundee Royal Infirmary Hospital in Scotland

Dundee Royal Infirmary, often shortened to DRI, was a major teaching hospital in Dundee, Scotland. Until the opening of Ninewells Hospital in 1974, Dundee Royal Infirmary was Dundee's main hospital. It was closed in 1998, after 200 years of operation.

Charles Illingworth

Charles Frederick William Illingworth was a British surgeon who specialised in gastroenterology. Along with a range of teaching and research interests, he wrote several surgical textbooks, and played a leading role in university and medical administration.

Douglas Guthrie

Douglas James Guthrie FRSE FRCS FRCP FRCSEd FRCPE was a Scottish medical doctor, otolaryngologist and historian of medicine.

Dr John Gibson Fleming FRSE PFPSG (1809-1879) was a Scottish surgeon, medical administrator and President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow 1865 to 1868, and 1870 to 1872.

Diarmid Noel Paton Scottish physician and academic (1859-1928)

Diarmid Noël Paton,, known as Noël Paton, was a Scottish physician and academic. From 1906 to 1928, he was the Regius Professor of Physiology at the University of Glasgow.

John Gamgee (1831–1894) was a British veterinarian and inventor. He specialised in the contagious diseases of larger animals: primarily cattle and horses.

William James Stuart CBE PRCSE FRSE (1873-1958) was a 20th-century Scottish surgeon who served as President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh from 1937 to 1939. He was affectionately known as Pussy Stuart.

Hector Clare Cameron

Hector Clare Cameron was a surgeon who was most notable for being Emeritus Professor of Clinical Surgery at the University of Glasgow and President of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow between 1897 and 1900. Cameron was house-surgeon to Joseph Lister and by 1887 assisted him in private practice. They eventually became life-long friends.

Extramural medical education in Edinburgh began over 200 years before the university medical faculty was founded in 1726 and extramural teaching continued thereafter for a further 200 years. Extramural is academic education which is conducted outwith a university. In the early 16th century it was under the auspices of the Incorporation of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and continued after the Faculty of Medicine was established by the University of Edinburgh in 1726. Throughout the late 18th and 19th centuries the demand for extramural medical teaching increased as Edinburgh's reputation as a centre for medical education grew. Instruction was carried out by individual teachers, by groups of teachers and, by the end of the 19th century, by private medical schools in the city. Together these comprised the Edinburgh Extramural School of Medicine. From 1896 many of the schools were incorporated into the Medical School of the Royal Colleges of Edinburgh under the aegis of the RCSEd and the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) and based at Surgeons' Hall. Extramural undergraduate medical education in Edinburgh stopped in 1948 with the closure of the Royal Colleges' Medical School following the Goodenough Report which recommended that all undergraduate medical education in the UK should be carried oy by universities.


  1. 1 2 Edwin Francis Catford (1975). Edinburgh: the story of a city. Hutchinson. pp. 19, 62. ISBN   9780091238506.
  2. "David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust 'born in Edinburgh'". Edinburgh Evening News. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  3. John Gifford; Colin McWilliam; David Walker; Christopher Wilson (1984). Edinburgh (3rd ed.). Penguin Books. p. 186. ISBN   0-14-071068-X.
  4. Charles J. Smith; J. G. Collee (1994). Edinburgh's Contribution to Medical Microbiology. Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine, University of Glasgow. p. 16. ISBN   0-9511765-6-0.
  5. Monthly Journal of Medical Science. Vol. X. Edinburgh: Sutherland and Knox. 1850. p. 198. ISBN   0-217-78228-0.
  6. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland (1951). An Inventory of the Ancient and Historical Monuments of the City of Edinburgh: With the Thirteenth Report of the Commission. H. M. Stationery Office. p. lxv.
  7. "Edinburgh". The Topographical, Statistical, and Historical Gazetteer of Scotland. Vol. I. A–H. Glasgow: A. Fullarton & Co. 1842. p. 455.
  8. Pamela Hunter (2004), Veterinary Medicine, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, p. 215, ISBN   9780754640530
  9. Henry Colin Gray Matthew; Brian Howard Harrison (2004). "John Gamgee". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography . Oxford University Press. p. 362. ISBN   9780198613718.
  10. The book of the Old Edinburgh Club. Vol. 6. The Old Edinburgh Club. 2005. p. 61. ISBN   9780951728451.
  11. "Edinburgh Research Archive (Loc Vet Educ web.pdf)". 2005. hdl:1842/2199.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. "Edinburgh Dental Hospital and School" . Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  13. "The Royal Odonto-Chirurgical Society of Scotland". Archived from the original on 6 June 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2013.
  14. Shelby, Barry (2006). Frommer's Edinburgh & Glasgow . Frommer's. p.  106. ISBN   0-470-05531-6.
  15. Andrew Lownie (2005). The Edinburgh literary companion (2nd ed.). Polygon. p. 56. ISBN   9781904598619.
  16. Lord Guthrie (2005). Robert Louis Stevenson Some Personal Recollections. Kessinger Publishing. p. 33. ISBN   9781417913909.
  17. "Walking Tour 2 ". The New York Times , 20 November 2006.