College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine

Sir Robert Sibbald (1641-1722)

Sir Robert Sibbald was a Professor of Medicine, the founder of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, and an alumnus of the University of Edinburgh.

Sibbald plaque


The origin of the University's first Natural History Collection stems from 1697 when Robert Sibbald (Edinburgh's first Professor of Medicine) presented to the College a collection of natural history specimens.

The collection was housed in cases for permanent display in the original University buildings on the site of the present Old College.

This display was one of the first museums in Britain having been created sixty years before the British Museum was established with the Sloane collection.

The collection's reputation spread throughout Europe.

It is a curious and noble museum...containing some rarities that are not to be found either in those of the Royal Society at London or the Ashmolean at Oxford.

Daniel Defoe

The plaque

Sibbald's plaque is located at Teviot Place, on the east wall of the main entrance of the Medical School Building.


In honour of Sir Robert Sibbal


Graduate of the University, Professor of Medicine (1685-1722), founder of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Related links

Sibbald's entry in the Gazetteer for Scotland