Craiglockhart originally opened as a Hydropathic in 1880 but was requisitioned by the military during the First World War for use as a hospital for the treatment of shell shocked officers.
It was here, in 1917, that the poets Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) and Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) first met. Within these walls, some of Owen's and Sassoon’s greatest war poetry was inspired and written, and their resulting friendship was to have a significant and lasting effect on literature, influencing our view of the war.
On the medical front, major advancements were made in the treatment of neurasthenia, also known as shell-shock, and the development of psychiatry. The work of the physicians at Craiglockhart was pioneering and the friendship between Sassoon and his doctor, Dr William W.H.R. Rivers was to become life-long.
Today, the building houses the University's Business School and is home to the War Poets Collection – one of several special collections available for consultation in our libraries. A permanent exhibition now allows visitors to view the collection, offering a glimpse into the minds and experiences of the poets, patients and medical staff at Craiglockhart through an array of documents, photographs, film and memorabilia. Learn about the horror and steadfast camaraderie of trench warfare which wrecked the psyches and bodies of a generation of young men, and gain an appreciation of the ground-breaking medical, social and cultural advancements which took place at Craiglockhart.
The exhibition was made possible with the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and other organisations and individual donors. It was officially opened on 11th November, 2005 by the BBC's World Affairs Correspondent, Allan Little.
Open to all members of the public for self-guided visits during the normal opening hours of Craiglockhart Campus Library, visitors should report to the Reception Desk on arrival to collect a visitor’s badge and sign the visitor’s book. To arrange group and guided visits, as well as those outside normal business hours, please phone or email in ahead of time.