Sport And Its Importance At Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Following the successful launch of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital bicentenary lecture series last month, the second lecture – Sport, Health and the Royal Edinburgh Hospital is set to take place on Wednesday 14 November 2012.

John Burnett, recently retired, Principal Curator, National Museums of Scotland will give the lecture looking at the significant role sport played in the life of staff and paying and pauper patients at the hospital in the second half of the 19th century.

In celebration of its bicentenary next year, the Royal Edinburgh Hospital has commissioned an eight-part lecture series highlighting 200 years of pioneering mental health care provision across Lothian.  The series began in October and runs until June 2013.

Tim Montgomery, Director of Operations, Royal Edinburgh Hospital and Associated Services (REAS), NHS Lothian, said:  “It was great to see so many people with an association with the hospital - staff, patients and others attend the first lecture and hear about the political and social context which led to hospitals like the Royal Edinburgh being established 200 years ago. 

“We are now looking forward to the next lecture which looks specifically at life in the hospital and the relationship of sport and exercise to good mental health."

John Burnett, retired Principal Curator, National Museums of Scotland said:  “This has been a fascinating topic to research and I anticipate the audience will
also find it interesting.  My lecture will draw from the Morningside Mirror, the hospital magazine produced in the 19th century, highlighting the different types of sport staff and some patients took part in. While sporting activities were largely done by staff, the newspaper highlights the therapeutic benefits of watching sport and also taking part in other activities such as gardening.”

Plans for a range of bicentenary celebrations next year are currently being finalised.

The series is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Government and the lectures cover a wide variety of the rich and diverse history of the hospital from the early 19th century to the present day.

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance by contacting 0131 537 6399, apart from lectures 3, 4 and 5 which are available on a first come first served basis. 

Further information on the lecture series and leaflet, which can be downloaded, are available via the NHS Lothian website at:

To coincide with the lecture series, Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA) has launched its Royal Edinburgh Hospital Archive Appeal.  The LHSA is looking for donations of photographs, letters, books or objects dating from the 18th century to now, to supplement and complement NHS Lothian’s existing, rich archive. The LHSA can be contacted at or on 0131 650 3392.