Edinburgh World Heritage

17 Thistle Street - New Town Dispensary

The dispensary was set up in 1815 to afford relief to the sick and diseased poor, give attendance on 'lying-in-women' and to innoculate for cowpox.

The Earl of Wemys was appointed as President, with Dr’s Thomson and Alison as Consulting Physicians, and Mr J.W.Turner consulting surgeon.

The dispensary was open from 1pm - 2pm every day except Sunday. A patient had to recommended by  a subscriber, and the rule was one patient for every 5 shillings subscribed.

One of the first doctors for the dispensary was David MacLagan. He was a veteran of Wellington’s army in Portugal, seeing action at the battles of Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, Nivelle and Nive. He was later awarded the Peninsular War medal with six clasps and promoted to ‘Physician to the Forces’, as well as being made responsible, at the invitation of the Portuguese government, for reorganising the medical services of their army.

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