The Trades Maiden Hospital of Edinburgh was established in 1704 by the Craftsmen of Edinburgh and Mary Erskine. This is the same lady who, ten years earlier, had founded the present Mary Erskine School with the Merchants of the town. The Trades Maiden Hospital began as a boarding school for “the daughters and granddaughters of decayed craftsmen”, in other words, for girls who could not be adequately looked after at home.
Its first location was between the Horse Wynd and Argyle Square, on the site of the east wing of the present Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street. It remained there until 1855, when it moved out to a villa named Rillbank, at Sciennes on the south side of the Meadows. In 1892 it moved again to Ashfield, on Grange Loan. The latest move was to 61 Melville Street in 1975 and its new home was renamed Ashfield in commemoration of its former premises. The Trades Maiden Hospital shares its headquarters with the Convenery of Trades, which holds its meetings in the same building.
The Beattie Medal was founded by Mr Adam Beattie, Deacon-Convener of the Incorporated Trades of Edinburgh in about 1865. The medal was awarded for successfully passing the entrance examinations for Edinburgh University. The recipient in 1870 was Agnes Legget, who had been referred to the Trades Maiden Hospital by the Incorporation of Skinners.