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Records of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, hospital, Glasgow, Scotland

Compiled by Alistair Tough, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archivist, 23 July 1998.
GB 812 HB 14 and HH 67.
Records of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, hospital, Glasgow, Scotland.
Dates of Creation:
252.00 metres.
Held at:
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives.
Name of Creator:
Glasgow Royal Infirmary (hospital: 1794– : Glasgow, Scotland).
Language of Material:
Level of Description:
First edition.

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Administrative/Biographical History

The oldest of Glasgow’s extant hospitals, the Glasgow Royal Infirmary [GRI] opened in 1794. It is situated at the head of the medieval High Street adjacent to Glasgow Cathedral. The GRI had a bed capacity of 136 when opened: this was increased to 208 by an extension completed in 1815. A separate 220 bed Fever House was added in 1828–1834. The total bed complement was increased to over 600 with the opening of a new Surgical House in 1861. It was in the latter that Lister pioneered antiseptic techniques and thereby revolutionised surgery.

The whole of the GRI buildings were replaced in a comprehensive reconstruction in 1909–1914. A new Out–patients Department, incorporating the Glasgow Central Dispensary which the GRI took over in 1937, was opened in 1940. The GRI’s Schaw Convalescent Home, opened in 1895, and the Canniesburn Auxiliary Hospital, opened in 1938, were both transferred to the National Health Service with the GRI.

All three were placed under the jurisdiction of the Board of Management for the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Associated Hospitals. The Eastern District Hospital, Belvidere Hospital and several clinics (all formerly under local authority control) were also transferred to this Board. In 1974 the GRI and its associated hospitals were placed in the Eastern District of the Greater Glasgow Health Board. Since 1993 the Infirmary has been run by the Glasgow Royal Infirmary University NHS Trust.

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In 1999 the Glasgow Royal Infirmary University NHS Trust was replaced by the larger North Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust which also includes the Western Infirmary, Gartnavel General, the Dental Hospital and Stobhill Hospital. The North Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust became the North Glasgow Division of NHS Greater Glasgow in 2004. A two phase complete replacement of the GRI buildings was planned in the 1960s. Phase One was completed in 1983. It now seems likely that the Infirmary buildings finished in 1914 will remain in use for the foreseeable future.

The GRI was Glasgow’s only teaching hospital until 1874 when the University removed its teaching to the new Western Infirmary. In 1876 the Glasgow Royal Infirmary Medical School was established and in 1889 it was incorporated as St Mungo’s College. In 1911 university teaching in the GRI resumed but St Mungo’s continued as an independent college until 1947.

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Scope And Content

  • Almoner’s (later Medical Social Work) Department records, 1927–1972
  • Annual Reports, 1795–1989
  • Building plans, 1863–1985
  • Circular letters received, 1948–1959
  • Correspondence, principal series, 1788–1931
  • Division of Anaesthesia files, 1968–1988
  • Ephemeral records, 1832–1998
  • Files and papers of John Scott regarding teaching of radiography at GRI and career of John MacIntyre, pioneer radiographer, c.20th century
  • Files of Hospital Secretary, 1958–1980
  • Financial records, 1792–1967
  • GRI Medical School / St Mungo’s College register of students, 1889–1920
  • GRI Staff Association papers, 1920–1950
  • Hospital publications, 1938–1996
  • Index to patients, medical and surgical, 1892–1939
  • Index of patients, ophthalmic, 1921–1939
  • Medical Dispensary journals, 1910–1935
  • Minutes, 1787–1989
  • Notes on Mr Lyon’s Clinical Surgery lectures, 1856–1857
  • Papers regarding Lord Lister and other subjects, 1893–1979
  • Pathology class roll, 1882–1937
  • Pathology Department records, 1895–1974
  • Photographs and drawings, 1794–1974
  • Registers of admissions and dismissions, 1794–1939
  • Registers of bequests, 1863–1943
  • Register of medical staff, 1906–1938
  • Registers of nurses, 1902–1970
  • Royal charters, 1791–1932
  • Schedule of moveable equipment requirements for Phase 1, 1972
  • Superintendents out-letter books, 1910–1928
  • Superintendent’s Weekly Reports, 1838–1843 and 1907–1922
  • Ward journals, 1794–1948
  • Weekly returns of admissions, dismissions and deaths, 1863–1939

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System of Arrangement:
Chronological within record class.
Custodial History:
Records held within National Health Service prior to transfer.
Some records held by Scottish Record Office and subsequently re–transmitted.
Immediate Source of Acquisition:
Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Scottish Record Office.
Appraisal, Destruction and Scheduling:
This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 812 procedures.
None expected.
Access Conditions:
Normal 30 year and 75 year closures apply.
Copyright / Reproduction:
Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.
Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents.
Existence of Copies:
No known copies.
This material is original.
Finding Aids:
Descriptive list.
Related Units of Description:
GB 812 HB 28: Records of Western Regional Hospital Board, Glasgow
GB 812 HB 48: Records of Glasgow Central Dispensary, Glasgow
GB 812 HB 52: Records of Schaw Auxiliary Hospital, Bearsden, Dunbartonshire
GB 812 HB 55: Records of Greater Glasgow Health Board
GB 812 HB 65, Records of Belvidere Hospital, Glasgow
GB 812 HB 73, Records of Eastern District Hospital, Duke Street, Glasgow
Publication Note:
Jenkinson, J L M, Moss M S, Russell, I F, The Royal. History of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 1794–1994, (Bicentenary Committee on behalf of Glasgow Royal Infirmary NHS Trust, Glasgow, 1994).

Fonds-Level Description Compilation Details

Compiled by Alistair Tough, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archivist, 23 July 1998.

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