Journal Mobile

D Doyle
Journal Issue: 
Volume 38: Issue 4: 2008




Edinburgh has had eight physic gardens on different sites since its first one  was  created  by  the  Incorporation  of  Barbers  and  Surgeons  in  1656. As  the gardens grew in size, they evolved from herb gardens to botanic gardens with small herbaria for the supply of medical herbs. They were intended for the instruction of medical,  surgical  and  apothecary  students  and,  in  the  case  of  the  physicians,  to demonstrate the need for a physicians’ college and a pharmacopoeia. Some of the doctors  in  charge  of  them  were  equally  famous  and  influential  in  botany  as  in medicine, and while Edinburgh Town Council enjoyed the fame the gardens brought to  the  city  it  was  parsimonious  and  slow  to  support  its  botanical  pioneers. The gardens  are  celebrated  today  in  the  Sibbald  Garden  within  the  Royal  College  of Physicians of Edinburgh.