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Astley Ainslie Hospital

Identifier: LHB35

Scope and Contents

Management and administration 1876-1974; patients (bound records) 1931-1975


  • Creation: 1876-1975

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Public access to these records is governed by UK data protection legislation, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, and the latest version of the Scottish Government Records Management: Health and Social Care Code of Practice (Scotland). Whilst some records may be accessed freely by researchers, the aforementioned legislation and guidelines mean that records conveying sensitive information on named individuals may be closed to the public for a set time.

Where health records relate to named deceased adults, they will be open 75 years after the latest date referenced, on the next 1 January. Case records of individuals below 18 years of age or adults not proven to be deceased will be open 100 years after the latest date recorded, on the next 1 January. Further information on legislation and guidelines covering medical records can be found here:

LHSA encourages the use of these records for legitimate clinical, historical and genealogical research purposes, and records that are designated as closed can be consulted by legitimate researchers if certain conditions are met. Please contact the LHSA Archivist for more details regarding procedures on how you can apply for permission to view closed records. Telephone us on: 0131 650 3392 or email us at

Biographical / Historical

Mr David Ainslie of Costerton, Midlothian died in 1900 leaving instruction to his Trustees that the residue of his estate, after a lapse of 15 years, was to be applied ‘to the purpose of erecting, endowing and maintaining a hospital or institution to be called the Astley Ainslie Institution, for the relief and behoof of the convalescents of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

A site was acquired on the south side of the city, consisting of four mansion houses and their grounds: Millbank, Southbank, Canaan House and Canaan Park. (Morelands and St Roque’s House and their grounds were added later.)

In 1923 an experimental unit of 34 beds was opened. By 1930, 120 beds were available. It was agreed that the Infirmary’s Convalescent House at Corstorphine would be used mainly for patients requiring a short convalescent period before returning to normal life. The Astley Ainslie would provide for those requiring longer care and supervision to fit them for a normal life; it might also occasionally take in infirmary patients who needed to be built up for surgery; it would not be used for patients with a chronic disability or debility due to old age, where a return to normal health would not be expected.

The Astley Ainslie grew from being a convalescent hospital to become a leading rehabilitation centre, and a leading training school for Occupational Therapists.

In 1948 it came under the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board and in 1954 it was linked under a single Board of Management with Edenhall Hospital, Musselburgh.In 1974 it became part of the South Lothian District of Lothian Health Board. By 1979 it had reached a capacity of 200 beds.

In 1986 it became part of the United Hospitals Unit.


5.75 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 prior to transfer

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Astley Ainslie Hospital, October 1988


Further accessions are expected

Related Materials

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Samaritan Society (GD2)South Lothian District, Lothian Health Board (LHB28)


Smith, Charles J., Between the streamlet and the town: a brief history of the Astley Ainslie Hospital. Edinburgh: Astley Ainslie Hospital, 1989
Astley Ainslie Hospital
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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