Care for Older People (1825-present)

Care for Older PeopleRoyal Blind began providing residential care for blind women in 1825 at 1 Hill Place, Edinburgh. The facility welcomed an initial intake of 25 women from working age to elderly. In 1876, Hill Place residents were transferred to the Craigmillar premises following the amalgamation of Royal Blind's Education Unit and the School for Blind Children in 1875.

The Thomas Burns Home

As the Royal Blind School continued to develop in the late 1920’s, it was no longer feasible to share the Craigmillar premises with its residential services. The Thomas Burns Home was constructed and opened in 1929 in order to provide dedicated premises for the provision of residential care for blind women.

Named after long serving Royal Blind Chairman Reverend Dr. Thomas Burns, the facility provided residential rooms, workspaces and recreational areas. As many residents became elderly, a shift towards the provision of nursing care replaced many of the industrial activities that flourished at Craigmillar Park. As a result of greater demand for nursing provision, Oswald House was purchased in 1946 to provide an eventide home for increasing numbers of elderly and infirm women.

Re-Developing The Thomas Burns Home

By the 1960’s demand for places exceeded capacity and the Board made the decision to extend the Thomas Burns Home so all residential nursing care would be provided within one location. Thanks to the fundraising generated by a public appeal led by the Earl of Haddington, the newly constructed Thomas Burns Home was opened by the Institution’s Patron, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1970. In its jubilee year of 1979, the Thomas Burns Home was further extended to welcome male residents. The extension was opened by the Countess of Haddington who had performed the original opening ceremony in 1929.

Morningside Campus

In 1987, it was decided to merge the Thomas Burns Home and Muirburn House in a new facility in Morningside, Edinburgh. The project was completed in 1991, officially opened by the President of the Institution and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch. Canaan Home accommodated 72 male and female residents in four houses named after:

  • The Rev. Dr. Thomas Burns
  • Miss J.H Beckett (long-serving Convenor of the Home Committee)
  • Mr T Boland (Chairman of the Board who launched the Canaan Project)
  • Mr J Osborne (former Chairman of Royal Blind). 

Each of the houses provided single and double rooms offering maximum comfort to the occupants. Residents enjoyed recreational rooms, specially designed bathrooms, sun terraces and sheltered gardens.

Braeside House

Elderly residents remained at Canaan Home until moving to Braeside House in 1999, which is a purpose built care home for visually impaired older people. Located in Liberton Brae in Edinburgh, residents enjoy en-suite single bedrooms, rooftop and sensory gardens plus hairdressing, podiatry and physiotherapy facilities. Residents also enjoy regular day excursions and visits from entertainers.

Expansion to the West of Scotland

In January 2015 Royal Blind announced plans to build a second care home for visually impaired older people in Paisley in the West of Scotland. Our Jenny's Well Care Home welcomed its first residents in October 2017. Find out more.