Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow

Reference YH
Dates of Creation 1861-2010
Name of Creator Royal Hospital for Sick Children (hospital: 1883-2015: Glasgow)
Language of Material English
Physical Description 40 shelf meters

Scope and Content

Articles of Association and Minutes, 1861-1974;
Committees and Divisions, 1929-1994;
Reports, 1883-1973;
Financial Records, 1881-1964;
Staff Records, 1913-1970
Patient Registers, 1893-1995;
Ward Journals, 1883-1941;
Nurses’ Records, 1882-1982;
Property Records, 1887-1995;
Public Relations and Promotional Material, 1884-1994;
Biochemistry Department Records, 1967-1990;
Papers of Dr John Ross Munro, Consultant Anaesthetist, RHSC, 1927-2000.
Balvicar Centre, 1960-1996;
Chaplaincy, 1991-c2004;
Glasgow University Department of Child Health, 1954-1999;
Yorkhill Children's Trust, c1988-2012;
Public/Patient Involvement, 2003-2007;
Ladies' Auxiliary Committee, 1941-1991;
Photographs, c1895-c2002.

Administrative / Biographical History

Glasgow Hospital for Sick Children was officially opened in December 1882. The organising committee took 21 years to establish the hospital. The hospital was in Scott St, Garnethill, in a house that was altered and extended to provide 3 wards, 58 beds, an operating theatre and accommodation for nurses. The buildings were extended in 1887 and 1894 to provide a fourth ward and nurses’ accommodation. The hospital was managed by a Board of Directors and, until 1948, was funded by public subscriptions and donations. It was staffed by two Visiting Surgeons and two Visiting Physicians. Initially there was one resident medical officer, later increased to two. The Lady Superintendent (later Matron) was responsible for all nursing and domestic arrangements.

The hospital treated poor children under the age of 13. Staff of the hospital engaged in research into children’s diseases and it was also a teaching hospital, training children’s nurses and giving instruction to medical students. The hospital was granted the use of “Royal” in its title in 1889.

An out-patient department, the Dispensary, was opened nearby in West Graham Street in 1888. The Dispensary was open every morning, except Sunday, and poor children received free treatment without an appointment. Day surgery was pioneered there, especially by Dr James Nicoll, who operated on cases of cleft palate, hare lip, spina bifida and pyloric stenosis. The Dispensary sisters also visited patients in their homes. In the 1920s the Dispensary had a diabetic clinic and cardiac clinic and, in the 1930s, a speech therapy clinic. It closed in 1953 as the clinics and out-patient facilities were transferred to the RHSC at Yorkhill.

A Country Branch of RHSC was built at Drumchapel, to the north west of Glasgow, in 1903. In 1968 one ward was turned into Drumchapel Geriatric Hospital and children’s facilities were closed there in 1985.

A new hospital was built in 1914. King George V and Queen Mary performed the opening ceremony. It was the second largest children’s hospital in Britain. The hospital had 200 beds in separate blocks. It provided 12 wards, laboratories, two operating theatres, a nurses’ home and a pathology block. From 1915 until 1919 four wards were used as a military hospital for officers.

On 19 January 1922 the hospital was incorporated as a limited company. There were changes to the hospital management structure, including the addition of hospital governors and two new directors who were representatives from the employees in public works, warehouses etc who subscribed to the hospital. University lectureships were established at the hospital, the first ones in 1919. In 1924, Leonard Findlay was appointed to the first permanent chair of child health in Britain. The hospital became a major research hospital of international renown, particularly into the causes and treatment of rickets, metabolic diseases, kidney disease, orthopaedics, and heart disorders.

From 1948 until 1964 the RHSC was under the Board of Management for Glasgow and District Children’s Hospitals, along with Drumchapel and Strathblane Children’s Home Hospital, which became part of the group in 1953. When the new Queen Mother’s maternity hospital opened in 1964 at Yorkhill, the Board of Management changed its title to Yorkhill Children’s and Maternity Hospitals. The title changed again in 1968 to Board of Management for Yorkhill and Associated Hospitals.

In 1965 patients and staff were temporarily evacuated to Oakbank Hospital. Between 1967 and 1971 a series of new buildings were opened at Yorkhill. The new RHSC was opened by the HRH the Queen and Prince Phillip in 1972.

In 1974, the RHSC and QMH group of hospitals was placed in the Western District of the Greater Glasgow Health Board. In 1989 GGHB decided to centralise all paediatric care within Glasgow at the RHSC, excluding infectious diseases.

The GGHB established a Yorkhill Unit in 1991. In 1993 Yorkhill was granted NHS Trust status, becoming Yorkhill NHS Trust, comprising of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Queen Mother’s Hospital, Strathblane Children’s Home Hospital and Community Child Health Services. In its first year the Trust began an ambitious capital investment programme to help absorb all paediatric in-patient activity in Glasgow onto the Yorkhill site. The £11.5 million scheme included new operating theatres, expanded Intensive Therapy Unit, improved facilities in Haematology and a new department of Child and Family Psychiatry.

The Yorkhill NHS Trust was abolished in April 2004 and the Yorkhill complex became Yorkhill Division of NHS Greater Glasgow. In 2005 the Scottish Executive agreed to allocate £100 million to NHS Greater Glasgow to build a modern replacement for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and this opened in 2015 at the Govan site of the old Southern General Hospital. The RHSC closed in 2015.

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 the medical records of minors.

Other Finding Aids
A paper-based finding aid can be located in the searchroom.

Archivist's Note
These records were organised and arranged by Mrs Alma Topen, Archivist.

Appraisal Information
Appraised according to standard procedures.

No further accruals expected.

Robertson, E Yorkhill story. History of the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Glasgow, Board of Management for Yorkhill and Associated Hospitals, 1972; Hutchison, I, Nicolson, M and Weaver, L Child health in Scotland. History of Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Scottish History Press, 2016

Related Material
QMH, Records of the Queen Mother's Hospital, Glasgow; HB 28, Records of Western Regional Hospital Board; HB 55, Records of Greater Glasgow Health Board.