Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.

Edinburgh Napier University Craiglockhart Campus (former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Insititution) including Chapel, exterior altar, gatepiers, boundary walls and decorative iron work, excluding the early 21st century extensions to the east, 219 Colinton Road, EdinburghLB27274

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 22619 70122
322619, 670122


Dating to 1877-80, the former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Institution, by Peddie and Kinnear, is a large three-storey with basement and attic, multi-bay Italianate hotel building with a five-storey central square-plan tower and four-storey end wings. A Chapel extension to the south was added in 1933 by Reginald Fairlie, assisted by J. Chisholm Cameron. The building is located on the corner of Colinton Road and Glenlockhart Road and is set within extensive grounds, with the main elevation facing onto Colinton Road.

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Institution was completed in 1880, with an H-shaped plan form main building with projecting wings to the rear. The building is classically proportioned and built of yellow random coursed ashlar sandstone. The building has deep overhanging eaves supported by regularly spaced decorative timber brackets. The slate roofs are piended on the central tower and end wings, with pitched roofs on the three-storey ranges, and glazed cupolas over the two service stairs. The building has symmetrically arranged tall ashlar sandstone chimney stacks with circular cans. There are four at the gablehead on the central tower and end wings, and a single ridge stack on the three-storey ranges. The building has continuous cill courses, with moulded eaves courses on the central tower and end wings. The window openings to the north, west and south have flush margins. To the rear (east) the windows have projecting margins. The windows are historic and are square-headed with one-over-one, two-over-two and four-over-two timber sash and case windows, with the exception of small square casement windows in the fourth floor of the central tower. The basement is concealed below ground level on the front elevation, but above ground to the rear.

The front (west) elevation is largely symmetrical. There is a stone balustraded balcony supported on pairs of stone corbels at first floor. At second floor level the three-storey ranges have regularly spaced windows interspersed by Doric pilasters.

The projecting central tower is five bays wide. At ground level the central three bays project and have a central projecting pedimented entrance, with 20th century timber and glass double-doors. Rising above the entrance is a two-storey four-light canted bay. At third floor are five symmetrically arranged windows interspersed by four Doric engaged columns. Above there is a shallow attic space with five symmetrically arranged square windows. The roof is topped by an open sided iron loggia surrounded by a decorative iron railing.

The projecting end wings are four storeys and symmetrical. Rising from the ground floor they have a central three-storey five-light canted bay. At third floor is an attic storey with five symmetrically spaced windows, interspersed by Doric pilasters. The north and south elevations have detailing similar to the main elevation with the addition of a single storey corridor attached to the south elevation leading to the Chapel (see below).

The majority of the interior was seen in 2018. Alterations and additions to the building have reduced the overall integrity of the interior, but there are still numerous elements of the interior surviving throughout the building. The entrance hall has a chequered floor, a green glazed tile Italianate drinking fountain, and decorative egg and dart cornice. The entrance hall opens to a wide transverse corridor lined with Doric engaged pilasters supporting a dentiled entablature. At ground floor the rear (east) wall has been removed between the engaged pilasters creating multiple regular spaced openings into the large 2004 extension to the east. Beyond double doors the transverse corridor continues with a coffered ceiling with geometric strapwork. At either end of the corridor are principal staircases formed of stone with elaborately detailed iron balusters and timber handrails. The staircases provide access to the first and second floors and are lit from tripartite windows in the rear (east) wall. Secondary service stairs are situated adjacent to the principal stairs. They provide access to all floors and are formed of cast iron balusters and timber handrails. The building retains largely all of its skirting boards, picture rails, presses, architraves, doors, windows and staircases. In several rooms on the ground floor timber panelling and fire places are retained.

The two-storey chapel and single-storey access corridor were added in 1933. The chapel is built in a modern Romanesque style with a rectangular aisleless plan form, a semi-circular east end and a canted entrance porch to the west. The canted porch and west gable are formed of red rough snecked rubble walls, with the rest of the chapel and transepts white rendered. Yellow sandstone is used for window and door margins, string courses and cornice.

The main (west) elevation is formed of a two-storey canted porch. The entrance is formed of timber double doors with copper ironmongery surrounded by moulded margins and a projecting cornice with a central dated shield (1933). At first floor is a projecting empty niche with a decorative pedestal. The entrance is flanked by small rectangular diamond leaded metal casement windows. Above each window are two yellow sandstone decorative bas-relief roundels. The roof is piended with grey slate. The north side of the porch has a single storey corridor attaching the chapel to the main building. Attached to the south of the porch is a small single storey 21st century addition providing ramped access. The porch is attached to the two-storey, west gable of the chapel, which has a copper crucifix at apex.

The chapel is six bays and has a pitched copper roof. The north and south elevations have six symmetrically arranged round headed multi-pane metal windows.

The east end of the chapel terminates in a square plan three-storey tower, with a semi-circular single storey east end addition. The upper storey of the north and south elevations has a pair of round headed multi-pane metal windows separated by a decorative bas-relief roundel. The tower roof is copper and pitched whilst the semi-circular east end has a slate covered conical roof.

Abutting the tower at ground level to the north and south elevations are single storey transepts. The south transept is small, with two rectangular diamond leaded metal casement windows to the west, a door to the south and three rectangular diamond leaded metal casement windows to the east. The north transept is larger and has a basement with light-well to the east. Its east elevation has four round headed multi-pane metal windows with three to the north elevation. The west elevation has been incorporated into the 21st century additions.

The majority of the chapel and single-storey access corridor interior were seen in 2018. The chapel is a double-height space, formed of three sections, the nave, the transepts and the altar. The chapel is decorated plainly with richer decoration focused on the altar. Unlike the Hydropathic building, the interior of the chapel survives largely unchanged from the time it was designed and constructed.

The nave of the chapel is formed of seven concrete arches spanning the width of the building. At ground floor level the arches are encased, forming pilasters with capitals which give the impression of a series of stone columns carrying a barrel roof. Within the nave is timber parquet flooring, along with a half-timber panel scheme, inbuilt timber seating and an organ and balcony at the west end. The crossing, with transepts to the north and south, is separated from the nave by a low altar rail with a gate. The crossing is within the three-storey tower, which has a domed ceiling and the space is top lit with round headed windows. There are projecting carved stone sculptures to the first floor north and south walls and the floor of the crossing has multiple colours of polished stone laid in a geometric pattern. The grey polished stone altar is within a classical round arched single-storey semi-circular niche, set on a three step plinth at the east end. The niche is decorated in multiple colours of polished stone in a geometric pattern with a half dome ceiling covered in gold leaf.

The interior of the transepts were not seen in 2018.

The single-storey access corridor to the chapel is six bays long, formed of red rough snecked rubble walls, with yellow sandstone margins and a slated pitched roof. The west symmetrical elevation has doors at the outer bays and four rectangular diamond leaded metal casement windows to centre. The east elevation has been incorporated into the 21st century additions. The interior of the entrance corridor to the chapel is formed of floor sprung barrel vaults interspersed to the west side with windows and to the east, doors onto the 21st century extension. The corridor has timber skirting, doors and architraves, with a decorated cornice. Accessed off the corridor is a tight circular metal staircase which provides access to the organ balcony.

To the north of the main 1880 building is a 20th century open-sided structure housing an altar. The gable fronted, splay sided, red brick structure has a pitched roof covered in terracotta roof tiles. The structure has open sides with decorative metal gates. The main (west) elevation has an open arch providing access to the altar. Either side of the arch are decorative sandstone female sculptures, with a decorative sandstone roundel to the centre. The altar has a simple design, constructed of brick and polished stone. The altar is sat on a stepped plinth above the surrounding landscape.

The boundary of the site is formed by a coped stone wall. At the corner of Glenlockhart Road and Colinton Road a low coped stone wall supports highly decorative cast iron panelled railings. The same decorative cast iron pattern is used for double gates leading to a former access drive onto to the Colinton Road.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the early 21st century extensions to the east.

Statement of Special Interest

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Institution is an imposing late 19th century Italianate former hotel building by the renowned architectural practice of Peddie and Kinnear. Completed in 1880, it was one of the latest and most architecturally competent hydropathics to be built in Scotland. The main hydropathic building's elevations and plan form are almost completely unaltered. The building's use during the First World War as Craiglockhart War Hospital and its association with Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and the early development of diagnosis and treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is of international significance.

The 1933 modern Romanesque Chapel by renowned architect Reginald Fairlie is of an innovative design. The building is constructed of concrete barrel arches and brick walls, making the structure fireproof. The exterior and interior is of high design quality, and is virtually intact.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the early 21st century extensions to the east.

Age and Rarity

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic was constructed between 1877 and 1880, to the designs of Edinburgh based architects John Dick Peddie and Charles George Hood Kinnear. The Hydropathic is first shown on John Bartholomew's 1880 map of the 'Plan of lands at Craiglockhart, the property of the parochial board of the city parish of Edinburgh'. The building is shown as generally symmetrical with an H-plan building to the front (west) and an attached rectangular plan building to the rear (east). The building was accessed from two approaches to the front and a service approach from the north. The map shows the building as being set within large grounds. Within the building was guest and staff accommodation, a recreational hall, baths, swimming bath, a billiards room, a drawing room, a reading room, a card room, the doctor's room, kitchens and a laundry.

The Hydropathic movement was founded by a peasant farmer, Vincenz Preissnitz at Grafenberg in Silesia in 1826 (Walker, p. 22). Preissnitz created a medical treatment based on the internal and external application of water. Its initial impact in Britain was in 1842 following the publication of Captain R. T. Claridge's account of his visit to Grafenberg in his book Hydropathy, The Cold Water Cure, as practiced by Vincent Priessneitz. Over the course of 1842 and 1843, Captain Claridge lectured on the practice of hydropathy in England, Ireland and Scotland, including in Edinburgh on the 19th September 1843 (Caledonian Mercury, p. 3).

The first hydropathic in Britain opened in 1842 at Malvern, England, established by Dr James Wilson (who had visited Grafenberg prior to Captain Claridge) and Dr James Manby Gully. A year later in 1843, the first hydropathic was established in Scotland by Dr William Patterson (who had also studied at Grafenberg) at Glenburn Hydropathic at Rothesay on the Isle of Bute.

From the 1840s, hydropathics were established across Great Britain. Many of these were small institutions catering for, at most, dozens of patients. By the later 19th century the typical hydropathic establishment had evolved into a more substantial undertaking and were transformed from free-paying private medical facilities to high-class spa-hotels, with large purpose built buildings with lavish facilities, baths and recreation rooms, under the supervision of fully trained and qualified medical practitioners (Bradley, Dupree and Durie, p. 429).

At the peak of the hydropathic movement in the late 19th century there were over 50 hydropathic hotels in Britain, with Scotland having 22 and Ireland one (Bradley, Dupree and Durie, p. 429). From statistical evidence it can be seen that hydropathic hotels were speculative businesses in which Scots were extremely interested. The combination of the many natural springs in Scotland and the promise of profits, saw the rise of medical entrepreneurs and a boom in hydropathic construction between 1843 and 1882.

This boom proved unsustainable and many hydropathics failed after the turn of the 20th century due to the rapid growth in their numbers, the large size of the establishments, overrun in building costs, under capitalisation and an inability to attract enough visitors in winter and spring. Additionally, many financially involved in hydropathic projects were early on affected by the collapse of the City of Glasgow Bank in 1878 (Bradley, Dupree and Durie, p. 434). The hydropathic institutions in Morningside in Edinburgh and in Oban both failed financially prior to either of them even opening.

It is likely in recognition of the economic climate that the Memorandum of Association for Craiglockhart specified that the establishment was for 'hydropathic, medical or other treatment, or for mere convenience and pleasure' (Walker, p. 31). Many hydropathics at the end of the 19th century diversified their offering, becoming hybrids and not solely focused on heath and illness. Baths, douches, packings and poultices became a smaller part of a larger package selling rest, recuperation, sociability and the romantic allure of the Scottish landscape (Bradley, Dupree and Durie, p. 431).

In February 1877 The Craiglockhart Hydropathic Company Limited advertised 3000 shares for sale for £10 each for the purpose of raising £30,000 to erect a hydropathic establishment (The Scotsman, 10th February 1877, p.1). At the completion of the construction in 1880, costs had risen to £46,000. From the opening of the hydropathic, it was financially unstable and it was liquidated in 1884 (Bradley, Dupree and Durie, p. 435).

Craiglockhart hydropathic was bought by former Edinburgh architect James Bell for £12,800 in 1890. He had previously been Secretary and then owner of the Dunblane Hydropathic (Walker, p. 43). He re-founded Craiglockhart as the Edinburgh Hydropathic Company of which he became principal share-holder and managing director.

As with the majority of hydropathics in Scotland, Craiglockhart was used for the treatment of wounded servicemen during the First World War. The catastrophic conflict resulted in several million wounded servicemen from the combatant nations between 1914 and 1918, and the available facilities at hydropathics were deemed well suited to an individual's long term recovery from mental and/or physical trauma. Craiglockhart was requisitioned in 1916 and was used as the Craiglockhart War Hospital until 1919. Craiglockhart focussed specifically on the treatment of psychological disorders, most notably cases of 'shell shock', now recognised as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

On returning the property to Mr Bell following the war, the decoration and services were in poor condition. Although he briefly re-opened the hydropathic, at the age of 79 he was too old to undertake the work required. The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1920 when Bell sold the building to the trustees of the Society of the Sacred Heart. The society was an enclosed religious order, who converted the building to be used as a convent and training college for Catholic teachers (Dictionary of Scottish Architects: James Bell).

The former hydropathic functions including recreation hall and baths were in an attached single storey and basement rectangular building to the rear (east), which has been demolished.

Craiglockhart is one of the last purpose-built hydropathics constructed in Scotland. Peddie and Kinnear designed two other hydropathics, Dunblane (1875-78) and Callander (1878-80), as well as converting a Jacobean mansion designed by J. T. Rochead to hydropathic usage at Shandon, Helensburgh in 1876-77. Of these it is only Dunblane that remains, which is listed (LB26409). There were 23 hydropathics in business in Scotland during the 19th and 20th centuries. Twelve of the Scottish examples still exist, and eight of these are listed, including the Glenburn Hotel, Rothesay (LB44849) and the Atholl Palace Hotel, Pitlochry (LB39856). In England there are six listed hydropathics.

The Chapel, built in 1933 and extended in 1963, was designed by Reginald Fairlie in association with J. Chisholm Cameron for the Craiglockhart Ladies' Training College for the Convent of the Sacred Heart. The Scotsman recorded the Most Reverend Andrew Joseph Macdonald, Roman Catholic Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, laying the foundation stone on the 27th May 1933 (p. 19). The article described the Chapel's architectural proposals as being for a building accommodating 320 people, which was more or less fire-proof, constructed of concrete foundations, piers and roof, with brick sides rendered white. The building was proposed to be connected to the main building by cloisters (The Scotsman, 27th May 1933, p. 19).

From historic photographs of the Chapel seen in Patrick Nuttgens 1959 book, it can be seen that the interior is virtually unchanged, with the only notable change seen in the removal of the pews following the chapel's change of use. Externally, photographic evidence shows that there has been minor alterations to the main (west) elevation. Photographs within Nuttgens book also show the now single storey connecting corridor between the former hydropathic building and chapel as having two storeys at that time, perhaps forming the western side of a cloister, as mentioned in the Scotsman article.

The 20th Century Society database of churches records around 50 new churches built in Edinburgh in the 20th century. Of these, five were designed by Fairlie, with St Margaret Mary's Roman Catholic Church (LB45647) and St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church (LB27498) listed in addition to the chapel at Craiglockhart,

The Chapel at Craiglockhart is traditional in its concept and design, with separation of clergy and congregation. It is a good example of the modern Romanesque style which Fairlie favoured and has good quality workmanship and materials.

Buildings put up between 1840 and 1945 which are of special architectural or historic interest and of definite character either individually or as part of a group may be listed. The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic and Chapel survive largely in their original form. The former Hydropathic retains elements of the interior which represent its former function, whilst the Chapel's interior is virtually entirely retained.

The former Hydropathic is among a small number of surviving hydropathics in Scotland and the United Kingdom and is illustrative of their history. Whilst the chapel cannot be said to be rare for its building type, it is a good example of the architecture of Reginald Fairlie and includes a high quality intact interior.

Architectural of Historic interest


Some 19th century detailing is still evident in the interior of the former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Institution building. On the ground floor, the corridor is lined with Doric engaged pilasters and is terminated by grand staircases with decorative iron balusters. The ground floor corridors and principal rooms have coffered ceilings with geometric strapwork and deep cornices. Additionally several of the principal rooms have fire places and timber panelling. The building largely retains all of its skirting boards, picture rails, presses, architraves, doors, windows and staircases. These features are typical for buildings of this date. The survival of the green glazed tile faience (ceramic tiled) Italianate drinking fountain is a reminder of the buildings hydropathic past and is also of interest.

In the Chapel much of the interior detailing and furnishings dating to the 1930s survive. The design detailing in the timber panelling, timber doors, architectural ironmongery, parquet floor, metal windows, stone sculptures and geometric polished stone is of high design quality. The consistency of the design throughout the interior and its survival distinguish this chapel is of special interest in listing terms.

Plan form

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Institution plan form is typical of Peddie and Kinnear hydropathics and shares common characteristics with other Scottish hydropathics. The main accommodation of the hydropathic was within the H-plan (west) block which remains largely intact. The hydropathic functions including recreation hall and baths were in an attached single storey and basement buildings to the rear (east), which has since been demolished.

Whilst minor alterations have taken place, with the addition of ramps and partitions, the original plan form has largely survived and is understandable, contributing to our understanding of the building's former use as a hydropathic.

The Chapel has a rectangular aisleless plan form with raised altar in keeping with its traditional church design and historical precedents. In some respects it is similar to other churches designed by Fairlie, for example St Andrew's, 1923 (LB40451); St Agatha's, 1924 (LB46079); Church of the Holy Family, 1934 (LB26422); St Patrick's, 1935 (LB7230); and St Mary's, 1937 (LB35583). The plan form remains largely intact and contributes to our understanding of the building's use when owned by the Society of the Sacred Heart.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic Institution is of typical construction for a late 19th century institutional building, the architects choosing to model its design on a grand Italian Renaissance country villa. The building is notable for its scale and length of façade and is significant amongst Scottish hydropathics as being particularly well-thought-out in architectural design (Walker, p. 43) and very well-appointed for its former function.

The partnership of John Dick Peddie (1824 –1891) and Charles George Hood Kinnear (1830 – 1894), based in Edinburgh, lasted from 1856-1878 and was one of the most prestigious and successful practices in Scotland at the time. Peddie was the architect for the Royal Bank of Scotland and had been responsible for a number of United Presbyterian churches before taking Kinnear into partnership. On joining, Kinnear s earlier association with architects William Burn and David Bryce was a significant influence on the practice. The partnership was very successful from its outset, working in various styles from Scots Baronial to classicism and Italianate, securing commissions for many high status public and commercial buildings, schools, and churches across Scotland. Craiglockhart Hydropathic was amongst the pair's final projects.

The building at Craiglockhart is superficially similar to Peddie and Kinnear's hydropathic at Dunblane, with a central entrance tower, advanced wings, and recreation hall and hydropathic block to the rear. However the design reflects experience gained from Dunblane, with the principal floor at entrance level, the basement exposed to the rear and generous floor to ceiling heights in the dining and drawing room wings. Craiglockhart was also more sophisticated in services than Dunblane, having 'Tobin's' system of mechanical ventilation (Walker, p. 31).

Hydropathics were a financial disaster for those who built them, but they were hugely influential in establishing the concept of a hotel with on-site leisure facilities to stay and relax. They would subsequently become the model for railway companies' golfing hotels, 20 to 30 years later (Walker, p. 43).

The Chapel, built in a modern Romanesque style in 1933, is typical of Reginald Fairlie's (1883-1952) designs. The building's concrete barrel arch and rendered brick fire-proof construction is innovative. The design detailing of the interior in the timber panelling, timber doors, architectural ironmongery, parquet floor, metal windows, stone sculptures and geometric polished stone is of high design quality.

Fairlie trained under Robert Stodart Lorimer, setting up his own practice at 7 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh in 1909. His ethos was based on nationalism, traditionalism and religion. He himself was a committed Roman Catholic and undertook many commissions for the Catholic Church. He also carried out a number of country house renovations and estate lodges although churches formed the largest part of his practice. Whilst his civic commissions were comparatively few, the National Library of Scotland (LB27684) is his most important and best known work.

Fairlie, with his religious belief, designed churches as functional working environments first and decorative structures second. In his career he designed 32 churches and chapels, five combined with church halls, and five church restoration projects (Nuttgens, p. 7). Of these 15 are listed. The Chapel at Craiglockhart is a largely unaltered example of Fairlie's work of notable design.


Fronting the east side of Colinton Road, the buildings occupy the western edge of the former hydropathic site, which is now owned and operated by Edinburgh Napier University (2018). The immediate setting of the buildings remains mostly unchanged from that depicted on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey (revised 1893, published 1895). Whilst the building was in usage as a hydropathic and war hospital, the grounds had tennis courts, archery grounds, bowling greens and the largest and finest croquet lawns in Scotland. These areas have been subsumed into the landscaping of the campus. The elevation of the former Craiglockhart Hydropathic is impressive in its length, scale and grandeur, the Chapel is a focal point within the landscape and together the buildings form an important marker in Edinburgh's suburban landscape and skyline as seen from main southern approaches.

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic and Chapel are located within the Craiglockhart Hills Conservation Area.

Regional variations

There are no known regional variations.

Close Historical Associations

The former Craiglockhart Hydropathic has close historical associations with nationally and internationally important people and events. These associations are well-documented and significant.

As with the majority of hydropathics in Scotland, Craiglockhart was used for treatment of the wounded during the First World War. It was requisitioned in 1916 and used as the Craiglockhart War Hospital until 1919. The hospital was established to treat officers with neurasthenia or 'shell shock', a psychological illness, which today is recognised as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Although the hospital treated the mental suffering of its patients, its ultimate aim was to aid recovery to enable officers to return to duty on the front lines (Munro, p. 79). Whilst the building was in operation as Craiglockhart War Hospital two internationally significant war poets, Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) and Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) stayed at the hospital and were treated by influential doctors Dr W. H. R. Rivers and Captain A. J. Brock.

Wilfred Owen arrived at Craiglockhart in late June 1917, having been diagnosed with shell shock. Owen was put under the charge of Captain Arthur Brock, a classicist and sociologist, who believed shell shock to result from broken contact with real life and the social and physical world. Captain Brock advocated 'ergo-therapy' or 'work-cure' to reconnect patients to the structure and communities of England and Britain which had been severed by warfare (Martin, p. 41).

Owen joined the field club Captain Brock started and was prescribed a 'writing cure,' being put in charge of the hospital publication, The Hydra. Most shell shock hospitals had small papers or gazettes that published hospital activities, but Craiglockhart's was exceptionally literary (Martin, p. 44). The name alluded to its mission in being many headed and many sided, in the Roman and Greek tradition, whilst also alluding to the hospitals previous use as a hydropathic. The Hydra was entirely patient run, and with writing on literature, classics and the arts, the publication provided officers with a reconnection to familiar society. Owen edited The Hydra for four months, in which time the publication also printed two of his poems anonymously. Captain Brock used poetry as a tool of empowerment, instilling discipline and order and countering the effect of mental crisis (Martin, p. 51).

Whilst at Craiglockhart Owen became friends with Siegfried Sassoon, whose book The Old Huntsman and Other Poems had recently been published. Sassoon helped channel Owen's memories of battle into one of the best known poems of the First World War, Dulce et decorum est. Owen returned to frontline service in November 1917, and he was killed in action at Le Cateau on 4 November 1918, just one week before the armistice.

Siegfried Sassoon arrived at Craiglockhart in summer 1917. By this time he had become known for his bravery in combat, verging on foolish levels of personal risk, and he had been awarded the Military Cross for bringing back a wounded lance-corporal under heavy fire (Oxford Dictionary of Biographies: Siegfried Sassoon). In spite of this, during 1916 and 1917 he began to develop a growing opposition to the war. He was wounded in April 1917 during the Battle of Arras and while recovering in England this opposition came to a head. In early July he wrote a strong anti-war statement, beginning I am making this statement as an act of willful defiance of military authority, because I believe that the war is being deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it . By the end of the month Sassoon's letter had been published in the press, and even read out by an anti-war MP in Parliament.

The statement was a major problem for the Government, as Sassoon was a well-known public figure, decorated for bravery, a published writer who came from a wealthy family and, above all, had influential friends including writers Thomas Hardy, Arnold Bennet, Bertrand Russell and Robert Graves (Royle, p. 251). To avoid further public embarrassment and a high profile court-martial for mutiny, the under-secretary for war declared Sassoon to be suffering from shell shock, and sent him to Craiglockhart.

At Craiglockhart, Sassoon was placed under the charge of Dr William Halse Rivers Rivers (Wilson, p. 3380). Dr Rivers was a pioneer in many of the emerging fields of science between 1880 and 1920, and was a leader in anthropological fieldwork, and well-known and esteemed within the psychiatric profession (Wilson, p. 3379). In treating shell shock, Dr Rivers developed a treatment of encouraging patients to narrate traumatic experiences in order to move through them, freeing them of repressed memories (Martin, p. 48). This was an early form of psychotherapy and termed a 'talk-cure'. Sassoon had four poems published in The Hydra and a further 16 poems written at Craiglockhart formed the basis of his book Counter-Attack and other poems, 1918 (Royle, p. 253).

In Sassoon's writing he referred to the hospital disparagingly as 'Dottyville' and describing it as possessing 'the melancholy atmosphere of a decayed hydropathic' (Royle, p. 252).Sassoon returned to duty four months after arriving at Craiglockhart and was back at the front line by May 1918, although unlike Owen he would survive the war.

Sassoon later wrote factually about his time at Craiglockhart in his book Sherston's Progress, which was reworked by Pat Barker into the Regeneration trilogy (Wilson, p. 3380). Dr Rivers himself also wrote about his work at Craiglockhart in a series of lectures titled Conflict and Dream, published posthumously in 1923. His pioneering work at Craiglockhart on shell shock was crucial in gaining acceptance for a condition that had previously been regarded with deep suspicion by many military authorities as either insanity, or a form of malingering (Wilson, p. 3380).

Owen and Sassoon s realistic and compassionate war poems established their stature as internationally renowned war poets. The work of Captain Brock and Dr Rivers was the beginning of the recognition, understanding and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, and remains valuable even today.

Statutory address, category of listing and listed building record revised in 2018. Previously listed as Sacred Heart, Convent of the Main Building and Chapel 219 Colinton Road Craiglockhart.




Canmore: CANMORE ID 141608


Bartholomew, J. (1880) Plan of lands at Craiglockhart, the property of the parochial board of the city parish of Edinburgh. Edinburgh: J. Brown.

Ordnance Survey (revised 1893, published 1895) Edinburghshire III.14 (Edinburgh) 25 inch to the mile. 2nd Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (revised 1905, published 1908) Edinburghshire III.14 (Edinburgh) 25 inch to the mile. 3rd Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (revised 1912, published 1914) Edinburghshire III.14 (Edinburgh) 25 inch to the mile. 4th Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (revised 1932, published 1933) Edinburghshire III.14 (Edinburgh) 25 inch to the mile. 5th Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.


Historic Environment Scotland, The Dick Peddie and McKay Collection, Plans:




Printed Sources

Bradley, J., Dupree, M. and Durie, A. (1997) Taking the Water-Cure: The Hydropathic Movement in Scotland, 1840-1940. The Journal of British and Economic History, Vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 426-437.

Caledonian Mercury (21st September 1843) p. 3.

Dundee Evening Telegraph (13th September 1878) p. 4.

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Edinburgh Evening News (12th June 1877) p. 3.

Edinburgh Evening News (3rd July 1879) p. 3.

Martin, W. (2007) Therapeutic Measures: The Hydra and Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital. MODERNISM/modernity, Vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 35-54.

Munro, K. (2014) Scotland's First World War. Edinburgh: Historic Scotland.

Nuttgens, P (1959) Reginald Fairlie 1883-1952: A Scottish Architect. Edinburgh and London: Oliver & Boyd.

Royle, T (2006) The Flowers of the Forest, Scotland and the First World War. Edinburgh: Birlinn Limited.

Southern Reporter (15th April 1880) p. 3.

The Scotsman (10th February 1877) p. 1.

The Scotsman (27th May 1933) p. 19.

Walker, D. W. (2003) Peddie & Kinnear's Hydropathics. Architectural Heritage: Journal of the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland, Vol. XIV, pp. 22-44.

Wilson, J. M. (2017) Dr W. H. R. Rivers: Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves' 'fathering friend'. Brain: A Journal of Neurology, Vol. 140, pp. 3378-3383.

Online Sources

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, James Bell:

[accessed 06/04/2018].

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Peddie and Kinnear:

[accessed 06/04/2018].

Dictionary of Scottish Architects, Reginald Fairlie:

[accessed 06/04/2018].

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Siegfried Loraine Sassoon

[accessed 06/04/2018].

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: Wilfred Edward Salter Owen

[accessed 06/04/2018].

The War Poets at Craiglockhart:

[accessed 06/04/2018].

The War Poets Collection:

[accessed 06/04/2018].

Twentieth Century Society, Churches Database:

[accessed 06/04/2018].

The Wilfred Owen Association: [accessed 29/06/2018]

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


Former Chapel of the Society of the Sacred Heart, principal elevation, looking northeast, during daytime, on clear day with blue sky.
Former Craiglockhart Hydropathic, principal elevation, looking east, during daytime, on clear day with blue sky.



Printed: 17/11/2019 07:21