Infirmary Street Edinburgh

Infirmary Street named due to the fact the first Royal Infirmary started here, This street starts on the South Bridge and is circa 100 metres long finishing in High School Yards. The First known name for the street which extended from Candlemaker Row at George IV Bridge included Chamber Street and Infirmary Street finishing in High School Yards was called Jamaica Street. (Ainslie’s map of Edinburgh 1580 – 1919). At the foot of what is now Infirmary Street is High School Yards which gives access to the Cowgate  and Blackfriars Street. Where Edinburgh University building stands once was the site of Blackfriars Abbey and the High School, the original site of the school was at Holyrood Abbey in 1128 and is said to have been the oldest school in the world. It then moved to the Blackfriars Monastery in 1578 which was at the foot of Infirmary Street, and then moving to Regent Road in 1829. On excavation of the car park, a Knight was found in the car park. On the north side of Infirmary Street at the foot, is where the Lady Yester Church stood.

Site of Black friars Abbey and High School Infirmary Street Edinburgh

The plaque at the door to the High School Yards Building reads; James Syme 1833 -1877 and Joseph Lister 1869 -1877 while regius professors of clinical surgery in the University of Edinburgh had charge of wards in this building. Then the old surgical hospital and part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Old Surgical Hospital High School Yards


Britain is becoming the Egypt of the North. A car park in England reveals a King and another in Edinburgh reveals a Knight. This is one of the first photographs of the Knight found in High School Yards Edinburgh. The Blackfriars’ (Dominican) Friary once stood on the land. King Alexander 2nd brother of King David 1st son of King Malcolm 3rd built a church on the land and bestowed a royal residence to the monks in 1130. This is also near to where the murdered body of Mary Queen of Scot’s husband, Lord Darnley, was found in 1567. The monastery and church were destroyed in 1558. What is now Infirmary Street once being a Church, bottom left (Lady Yester’s Church). Where the Friary stood was the Royal High School and on the right side of the street was the Royal Infirmary and finally the University moved in and has two buildings, one where the church had been and the other where the friary had stood. The skeleton was found in 2013 during renovations at the front of the building at the foot of the street.

 skeleton in car park where once was a burial ground of Blackfriars Abbey


On the 06 August 1729 the first voluntary hospital in Scotland opened in what is now Infirmary Street Edinburgh opposite the top of Robertson’s Close. This became the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh in 1736 in the same building. It then moved to a larger building down the same street before moving to Lauriston Place. The original gates can be seen in Drummond Street 70 meters up the South Bridge opposite the University of Edinburgh Old College building. Edinburgh Royal Infirmary site from maps shows that the Infirmary was in the building which can be seen in Drummond Street where the original gate to the Infirmary still stands. (Ainslie’s map of Edinburgh 1580 – 1919). Other maps confirm this.

 First Royal Infirmary Edinburgh   Royal Infirmary Gates Drummond Street Edinburgh

Link to Drummond Street

Edinburgh University Old College