History of the Eye Pavilion
In the early 1960s plans were formulated between the Board of Management of The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals and The University of Edinburgh Department of Ophthalmology to construct a brand-new, specifically-designed, custom-built & free-standing eye hospital: 'The Eye Department of The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh'.
The proposed new building would re-house the existing Eye Department, moving it from its current home in the Moray Pavilion within the Royal Infirmary in Lauriston Place. The new hospital would have the capacity to process 35,000 outpatient attendances per year; contain a complete theatre facility; accommodate 72 inpatients over three wards; house its own casualty department; acquire the Orthoptic Clinic, School Eye Service and Artificial Eye Centre from their current premises in Cambridge Street; and provide a teaching centre for undergraduate, postgraduate and nursing, thereby providing a full range of ophthalmic services all under one roof.
The ambitious plans were formally approved by the South-Eastern Regional Hospital Board who pronounced that the new seven storey building would establish "a centre-of-excellence" as well as provide "the first tangible evidence of the rebuilding of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh". Work began in the grounds of Chalmers Hospital in 1965; was completed four years later (at a cost of approximately £700,000) and the first patients were admitted on 4th August 1969.
In the Autumn the building acquired its new and finalised name. It had been decided to preserve the architectural term 'Pavilion' (being a freestanding subsidiary building) from the Moray Pavilion and 'The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion' was officially opened by HRH Princess Alexandra on Wednesday 1st October 1969 at 3PM . The opening ceremony was featured on Scottish Television (STV), an official opening party was held later in the evening, and Edinburgh Corporation arranged night-time floodlighting of Edinburgh Castle to celebrate the new hospital and its royal patronage.
You may also like
Retired Consultant Dr J.F. Cullen's personal reminiscence of The Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion from the publication 'Eye News' (April/May 2019)