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Public Health Department of the City of Edinburgh

Identifier: LHB16

Scope and Contents

Management and administration 1865-1982; patients (bound and unbound records) 1908-1997


  • Creation: 1865-1997

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Normal 30, 75 and 100 year Scottish closure rules apply

Biographical / Historical

Edinburgh was the first Scottish local authority to appoint a Medical Officer of Health: Henry Duncan Littlejohn was appointed in 1862. Public health matters originally came under the Lord Provost's Committee of the Town Council. Following the Public Health (Scotland) Act of 1867, a Public Health Committee was set up by the Town Council in 1872. The Public Health Committee was responsible for sanitary matters and the control of infectious diseases. Its remit was gradually extended to cover in addition: the administration of municipal hospitals; maternity and child welfare; the control of venereal diseases; veterinary matters; food hygiene; environmental health; mental health services; health visiting and home nursing services. In 1948 the municipal hospitals became part of the National Health Service. Several more functions of the Health Department were transferred to the Lothian Health Board in 1974, and the Community Services and Communicable Diseases Division was formed to administer child health services, community health and nursing services, epidemiological and preventative services.


10 shelf metres: bound volumes, papers


Chronological within record class

Other Finding Aids

Manual item-level descriptive list available

Custodial History

Records held within the National Health Service and Edinburgh City Council prior to transfer

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Community Medicine Specialists Office, Western General Hospital, May 1983, and Community Services and Communicable Diseases, Johnstone Terrace, October 1983


No further accessions are expected

Related Materials

Lothian Health Board (LHB37)Primary Care Division, Lothian Health Board (LHB24)


Tait, H. P. A doctor and two policemen: the history of Edinburgh Health Department, 1862-1974 Edinburgh: Mackenzie and Storrie: Public Health Department, 1974
Public Health Department of the City of Edinburgh
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Repository Details

Part of the Lothian Health Services Archive Repository

Centre for Research Collections
Edinburgh University Library
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9LJ Scotland
+44 (0)131 650 3392