SVR History

One of the founders

Scottish Veterans' Residences is Scotland's oldest ex-Service charity, founded in 1910.

Scottish Veterans’ Residences was founded as a charity in 1910 by two Seaforth Highlanders, Charles Pelham Burn and Chilton Lind Addison Smith, having seen the squalor under which veterans of the day existed in Edinburgh. SVR provides unique and unrivalled residential accommodation for our ex-service men and women of all ages. Each year we help some 300 ex-service men and women and their spouses.

  The first residence was Whitefoord House on the Canongate (opposite the parliament building)  and the first residents were veterans of Crimea, the 2nd Afghan War and the Boer War.  In 1932 SVR was gifted Rosendael, a mansion house in Broughty Ferry, Dundee by a family who had lost a son on the Somme.  Rosendael became the second residences and today we have a total of 128 en-suite rooms. We help around 300 veterans per year and in the last 99 years have helped a total of around 60,000 men and women.

When dry rot and other substantial problems were found in Whitefoord House a housing association was formed which became Scottish Veterans Housing Association Limited.  Scottish Veterans Housing Association is the operating arm of Scottish Veterans' Residences.

In consultation with residents it was noted that  after spending time at Whitefoord House or Rosendael some were ready to move into completely independent accommodation, but affordable housing, particularly in Edinburgh, was very hard to come by.  For this reason in 2003, 11 flats were created at Whitefoord House which were very successful.  These were so successful that in 2005 it was decided to build 9 more independent living flats on the site of The Murray Home, a nursing home previously operated by SVR in Gilmerton, Edinburgh.

The first Lady Haig Poppy Factory

History of Whitefoord House

Whitefoord House and its site have had a long history. The present Whitefoord House is not the first House to occupy this site. The current house, built in 1769, occupies the site of the Earl of Wintons' Mansion better known as Lord Seton's Lodging. (See Walter Scott's 'Abbot' Vol.1 chapter xviii). The last Earl was exiled for his part in the 1715 rebellion and died in Rome in 1749. It was this house Henry, Lord Darnley stayed the night before he married Mary, Queen of Scots at the Palace of Holyrood House, located just 200 metres from Whitefoord House.

The present building dates from 1769 and is the work of Robert Milne and was built for Sir John Whitefoord an early patron of Robert Burns. Sir John Whitefoord died in the house in 1803. The most famous occupant was Sir William MacLeod Bannatyne a judge. He lived to the age of 90 and could recall his father's involvement in the 1745 rebellion. He died in the house in 1833 and afterwards the building was used as a type factory.

In February 1910 with a generous donation from Mrs W G McLaren, who lost one of her sons in the Boer War, the charity was able to purchase Whitefoord House. In 1926 the first Lady Haig Poppy Factory was established in the Maclagan Room at Whitefoord House. The residents made poppies here for sale throughout Scotland.

Each resident now enjoys his or her own fully furnished room with en-suite facilities. There are also 11 self-contained independent flats.

Read Whitefoord House's listed building report here. 


The opening of Rosendael in 1932

History of Rosendael


Rosendael is situated in Broughty Ferry, Dundee and was gifted to the Charity in 1932, together with an endowment of £5000, by Miss J C Gibson in memory of her brother, Mr John Normansell Kyd, who lost his son Frank Proctor Kyd on the Somme in 1916, and whose home it used to be. The name Rosendael is Flemish, as the Kyd's manufactured jute in Belgium, an industry closely connected with the City of Dundee. They returned to Dundee and in 1868 constructed Rosendael as their town house. Today Rosendael is home to 54 veterans.

A massive renovation project took place in 2007-2008 with all rooms upgraded to en-suite, a new central heating system, brand new kitchens and beautifully refurbished public rooms. Rosendael now offers some of the best quality residential accommodation in the North East of Scotland.