Edinburgh’s Orphan Hospital

In 1727 Edinburgh merchant Andrew Gairdner, set up a charitable subscription to raise funds to build an orphan institution. The resulting Orphan Hospital, built between 1734 and 1781, below the North Bridge. By 1832 it had become very decayed and was replaced by a new orphanage, designed by Thomas Hamilton, at the Dean. This, second orphanage, was still in use until the later 20th century, but in the 1990s was converted into the Dean Gallery (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art).

Ordnance Survey Book: “[Situation] Southward of Shakespeare Sqr [Square]
The site of this institution was pointed out by the given authorities and they state that it stood a little South of Shakespeare Square, previous to the removal of it, by the North British Railway Company, The Hospital was founded through the exertions of Mr. A Gairdner Merchant in Edinburgh, having collected by subscriptions a sum of £218 and obtained the aid of the Society for propagating Christian Knowledge he hired a house in 1733 into which twenty children were admitted. In the following year the contributions increased and a piece of ground was procured, near about where I have already stated, when an extensive building was erected on it in which 74 orphan was received, The contributors were erected into a Corporation in 1742, The funds increasing and the situation of the institution not being very agreeable, the site of it was fixed on the Dean grounds north of the Water of Leith, where the Corporation has built a most beautiful house, which accommodates about 200 orphans (See Description in name Book of Sheet II)”

1742 map:

1765 map:

1780 map:

1820 map:

1847 map: