J.K Rowling pictured in-front of the Anne Rowling Clinic banner

Our history

Our history

The Anne Rowling Clinic was founded by author J.K. Rowling in memory of her mother Anne.

Anne Rowling, born in 1945, was the mother of the author J.K. Rowling, famous for her Harry Potter books. Anne died in 1990 from complications related to multiple sclerosis.

In 2010, when J.K. Rowling reached the age at which her mother died, she donated £10M to the University of Edinburgh to found a clinic in her mother’s name.

I cannot think of anything more important, or of more lasting value, than to help the university attract world-class minds in the field of neuroregeneration, to build on its long and illustrious history of medical research and, ultimately, to seek a cure for a very Scottish disease.

J.K. RowlingAuthor and Founder of the Anne Rowling Clinic

Official opening

The Clinic was opened in October 2013, by HRH the Princess Royal, Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh.

From 2013 to 2021 the Clinic was co-directed by Professor Siddharthan Chandran and Professor Charles ffrench-Constant. In 2021 Professor ffrench-Constant retired and Professor Chandran became the sole Director.

Time capsule

A time capsule and explanatory plaque were installed at the entrance to the Anne Rowling Clinic when it opened.

The capsule contains accounts from people living with neurodegenerative conditions, as well as contributions from clinicians on current treatments and their hopes for the future.

The capsule's case was designed by Edinburgh-based designer Mark Kobine. The design was inspired by cellular regeneration and the uplifting hope that the Clinic offers its users.

The Anne Rowling Clinic time capsule in its display case

The letters inside the time capsule read:

“To me this centre not only brings hope and inspiration but I also feel secure in the knowledge that it will be managed by a team of experts who are passionate about discovering and developing new treatments which will ultimately benefit patients with all types of neurological diseases.” Narrabeen, person with MND

“Just as with smallpox and polio, which are now just dim memories in the West, I hope that MS will become a forgotten illness ...” Breck Stewart, person with MS

“I know that the clinic will make a difference. I don’t know if it will be large or small, short- or long-term, related to MS or another condition. The fact that it will make a difference is really what matters ...” Elizabeth Vokurka, person with MS

“Neurological diseases will always be complicated, and we are under no illusions about the scale of the task that lies ahead. We are very aware that this letter will sit inside a time capsule alongside the stories of patients who are facing real, daily struggles with diseases like MS and MND. In fifty years’ time however, we believe that a diagnosis of neurodegenerative disease will no longer be a life (and death) sentence.” Professor Siddharthan Chandran (Clinic Director) and Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, (Clinic Director - retired)