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Craiglockhart War Hospital for Officers

War causes enormous numbers of specific injuries and conditions. Often special hospitals had to be set up to deal with them. In 1916, during the First World War, Craiglockhart War Hospital for Officers near Edinburgh was set up to deal with shell-shocked officers. Originally the buildings were part of a hydropathic institute, where patients went to receive water therapy. Sporting facilities included swimming, golf, tennis and cricket. Patients made model yachts, joined the camera club and walked in the fields around the hospital.

The patients would be occupied during the day, but often wandered the corridors at night. Many of them were haunted by the horrible scenes of death and destruction that they had experienced. Craiglockhart’s most famous patients were the war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. They were treated by William Rivers, the famous psychologist who developed the ‘talking cure’ for shell-shocked officers at Craiglockhart. It is now part of Napier University.


Related links

Techniques and Technologies:


W Holden, Shell Shock: The Psychological Impact of War (London: Channel Four Books, 1998)

B Shepard, A War of Nerves: Soldiers and Psychiatrists in the Twentieth Century (London; Jonathan Cape, 2000)