Craiglockhart is to the south west, first mentioned in 1278, known then as “Crag quam Stephanus Loccard miles tenuit; ” a craig (rock or crag) named after Stephen (of) Loccard. Responsible for the building of Craiglockhart Castle in,. the 15th century ( ), descendents changed their of Edinburgh until 1920.

In 1873 the City of Edinburgh Parochial Board sold the west part of Craiglockhart Estate to the Craiglockhart Estate Company for residential development but number of medical establishments were to be located there. The earliest being Old Craig House built in 1565 and converted into an asylum in 1878; and its junior equivalent Craighouse, (1889) which was part of the Royal Edinburgh Asylum. In addition nearby was The City Hospital dating from 1896 and the City Poorhouse (1867). The poor house became Greenlea’s Old People’s Home.

Craiglockhart Poor House, now Greenlea Old People's Home

Craiglockhart Poor House, now Greenlea Old People’s Home

Both Siegfried Sassoon and Pat Barker mention tennis being played at the War Hospital, so it seems fitting that the Craiglockhart has a now well known Tennis Centre plays host to with a series of well kept indoor and outdoor courts on which International matches have been played.

Craiglockhart Campus, Edinburgh Napier University

Built in 13 acres of the former estate, the ‘Hydro’was constructed in an Italianate style during the 1870s. It has seen many uses over the years but originally was what we might now think of as a spa therapy centre Craiglockhart Hydropathic Institution. In 1916, with the growing demand for medical space in which to house traumatised soldiers, the building and grounds were taken over by the war office and became Craiglockhart War Hospital. Officers were treated there, including a number of war poets; Siegried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen and Charles Hamilton Sorley*

Steps leading up to the entrance to the main former hospital building

Steps leading up to the entrance to the main former hospital building

Some of the doctors also became well known. In charge was Major W Bryce. Dr/ Capt A J Brock whose general treatment of patients involved a ‘Working Cure’ and ‘Ergotherapy’ which sounds a little unpleasant but nothing compared to that utilised by doctors elsewhere. Ergotherapy was a mix of activity to encourage the men to take responsibility for their own health and situation (and occasionally included cold baths and walks), whilst the ‘work’ would be centred round tasks that would teach them new hobbies, keep their minds occupied and provide the opportunity for increase of confidence through achievement. Wilfred Owen, whilst there developed and interest, for example, in keeping pigs, and hoped to do so after the war.

Rivers, seated front row, fourth from left, outside Craiglockhart Hospital, 1917 with staff and patients

Rivers, seated front row, fourth from left, outside Craiglockhart Hospital, 1917 with staff and patients

Brock tended to stay rather aloof from his patients but his colleague. Dr/Capt William Rivers worked in almost an opposite manner; from the start, he would introduce himself to the patient over a cup of tea in his office and see them a number of times per week, depending upon the depth of their condition. If a man was distressed in the night, he would attend him without hesitation and stayed until the man had calmed enough to be left or to sleep. He too liked to educate his patients as to their condition and how they might combat it in future but his emphasis lay elsewhere :- he encouraged the men to talk of what had happened to them, to describe their nightmares or fears, and then helped them understand the cause, and the fact that their illness was nothing to be ashamed of, despite the opinion of much of society. He believed that, with this knowledge the man would feel less scared by their illness and its effects. The doctor would then proceed to encourage the man’s confidence by pointing out coping mechanisms and re-focusing their thoughts. For the time, this approach was almost revolutionary in Britain but its success contributed to its employment by many therapists today.

After the war, for a time the building changed use again and was occupied by a Convent of the Scared Heart followed by a theological school, a Catholic teacher training college associated with St Andrew’s College of Education in Glasgow and finally part of what was at the time Napier College


Napier Technical College was established in 1958 at Merchiston and named after John Napier (.b1550), a local man who invented of logarithms and the decimal point. Its buildings opened to students in 1964 and, having endured two changes of name it expanded upon acquiring the former training college in 1986. The new campus, now Napier College of Commerce and Technology was opened by Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister.

In 1992 the college was given University status and became Napier University , Edinburgh and by 2009 ranked first in Scotland by Higher Education Statistics Agency for employability of its graduated students. In the same year, the institution was once more renamed as Edinburgh Napier University**. It has won numerous awards and remains a popular choice amongst students

New and old buildings at Craiglockhart Campus

New and old buildings at Craiglockhart Campus


*The War Poets Collection exhibition is viewable during university opening hours

**To learn more about the university itself and the courses offered, please see