The Christian medical missionary movement

In the 19th century there were at least three waves of Christian revival in Edinburgh and Scotland, which transformed our culture. Out of this movement Christians came to study or teach medicine at Edinburgh University and they then combined their faith and skill as missionaries in many nations.

In 1841 Dr John Abercrombie (1780-1844), the Royal Physician, founded the Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society and became its first President. Out of this grew the Cowgate Medical Missionary School (1853) where Christian doctors were trained and sent out to establish healthcare all over the world. This training base was also used as a medical centre for the local population. This closed in 1952 as the Christian vision for a state National Health System became a reality when the government established it.