Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Reference HB14
Dates of Creation 1787-2010
Name of Creator Glasgow Royal Infirmary (hospital: 1794– : Glasgow)
Language of Material English
Physical Description 252.00 meters

Scope and Content

Minutes, 1787-1985;
Annual Reports, 1795-1989;
Financial records, 1792-1962;
Papers of St Mungo's College, 1889-1937;
Subject files, correspondence and papers, 1788-1984;
Plans, 1863-1985;
Photographs, paintings, drawings and display items, 1889-1974;
Miscellaneous material 1856-1986;
Nursing records, 1902-1960;
Pathology Department records, 1895-1974;
Almoners/Medical Social Work Department, 1935-1972;
Material relating to Dr William Hunter, 1922-c.1970s;
Charters, 1791-1932;
Superintendents Weekly Reports, 1838-1939;
Circulated documents, 1948-1959;
Superintendents' Letter Books, 1910-1928;
Ward day books and journals, 1794-1940;
Registers of admissions and discharges, 1794-1939;
Clinical photograph collection, late 19th and early 20th century;
Papers of John Scott, Superintendent Radiologist;
Records of Division of Anaesthesia, 1964-91;
Records of GRI Nurses' League, 1922-2010.

Administrative / Biographical History

The GRI is the oldest extant hospital in Glasgow and for much of the last two hundred years it has been a major teaching hospital. The Royal opened in 1794 and had 136 beds. An extension added a further 72 beds in 1815. A separate Fever Hospital built between 1828 and 1834 had a nominal capacity of 220 beds (but not uncommonly held considerably more patients during epidemics). The Surgical House, opened in 1861, increased the bed capacity to over 600.

A complete reconstruction of the GRI was undertaken during the Edwardian era. Originally mooted as an 1897 Diamond Jubilee project, the rebuilding was completed in 1911-14. In 1940 a new Out Patients Department was opened, following the incorporation of the Glasgow Central Dispensary into the GRI in 1937.

Until 1874 the Royal was the only hospital in which clinical teaching could be conducted in Glasgow. When Glasgow University removed to Gilmorehill and the new Western Infirmary was opened, the GRI lost most of its students. In 1875 an independent GRI Medical School was established and in 1889 this became St Mungo's College. Rivalry gradually gave way to cooperation and university teaching was resumed in the Royal in 1911.

When the GRI joined the NHS in 1948 it brought with it two outlying institutions, the Schaw Convalescent Home (opened in 1895) and Canniesburn Auxiliary Hospital (opened in 1938). Within the NHS the Royal became the hub of the Board of Management for the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Associated Hospitals. This Board was responsible not only for the GRI, Schaw Home and Canniesburn Hospital but also for Belvidere Hospital, Duke Street Hospital and several clinics. References to these hospitals and clinics will be found throughout the Board of Management minutes, annual reports and correspondence. Since the reorganisation of the NHS in 1974, the GRI has experienced rapid changes in its administrative arrangements.

Arranged in series.

Conditions Governing Access
There is a 75 year closure period on medical records of adults, and a 100 year closure period on medical records of minors.

Other Finding Aids
A paper-based catalogue can be found in the searchroom.

Appraisal Information
Appraised according to standard procedures.

Custodial History
In NHS custody prior to transfer.

Further accruals expected.

Related materials

HB28 Western Regional Hospital Board; HB55 Greater Glasgow (and Clyde); HB71 Sir David Cuthbertson; HB114 North Glasgow University Hospitals NHS Trust;


Jenkinson, J et al The Royal. History of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 1794 - 1994, Glasgow Royal Infirmary NHS Trust, 1994