The College’s Queen Street home is a collection of distinctive buildings which span almost 250 years of architectural style. The College’s purpose-built hall, which dates from the Victorian era, contains a grand staircase leading to a room of impressive columns and historic portraits and sculptures of notable figures from the history of medicine, including Galen, Hippocrates and Sophocles.
Older still is the College’s eighteenth-century wing, which was designed by the celebrated architect Robert Adam. This was the first house built on Queen Street and one of the very first in the whole of the New Town. It was commissioned by Baron Ord, then Chancellor of the Exchequer and was used to host his private parties which were attended by great figures of the day, including the philosopher David Hume.
The College received its Royal Charter in 1681, as a result of decades of dedicated hard work by a number of Edinburgh physicians, including Sir Robert Sibbald, the first Geographer Royal for Scotland. It’s aims were to regulate the profession to keep out quacks and charlatans, to provide free medical treatment for the poor and to support doctors in their work.