Alexander Wood was a highly respected and extremely popular Edinburgh surgeon. The son of a Restalrig farmer, he studied medicine in Edinburgh and for a while practiced in Musselburgh. He subsequently moved back to the capital and became a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1756. Known for his philanthropy and kindness he was nicknamed by the citizens of Edinburgh, ‘lang Sandy’ for his lanky figure. Wood was a friend of Robert Burns and was held in high esteem by Byron. When one night he was mistakenly seized by a rioting mob, he saved himself by exclaiming: 'I'm lang Sandy Wood; tak' me to a lamp and ye'll see'. One of Wood’s pupils was the pioneer of psychiatric medicine, Sir Alexander Morison.