The Western ... we're off!

Demolition work is under way on the former Western Infirmary site – part of the enabling works for the UofG's new campus.

Western Demo

Ann Allen, Executive Director of Estates and Commercial Services, said: “We have now reached a significant stage on our Western site campus development. Watching the demolition of the main Western Infirmary Hospital will evoke memories for hundreds of thousands of people across the West of Scotland so this is in many ways a very poignant time. However, this also marks the start of the exciting campus development enabling and construction programme on the former Western site – one that will transform the University of Glasgow but also open up the area to the local community.”

The site – part of the University’s £1bn campus masterplan, will see the construction of a world-changing Research Hub, and buildings for the College of Arts, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, Adam Smith Business School and Growing Post-graduate Population Project and School of Engineering.

The campus development project will create public routes and a new central square which will link Byres Road to the up-and-coming cultural quarter for the West End, with new links to Kelvingrove and the newly-refurbished Kelvin Hall.

The University moved from High Street to the Gilmorehill site in 1870. It was always envisaged that the development then would be a university and hospital, side by side, so that the hospital could be used for clinical teaching and research.

The University’s Gilbert Scott building was completed partially in 1870 but the hospital did not open until 1874. The original proposal was to situate the hospital on the current site of the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery – then known as Clayslaps – which was owned by the University. Instead, however, the town council swapped land it owned on the Western Infirmary site – Donaldshill – for the Clayslaps land. In 1878, a pre-emption clause was signed stating that if the hospital ever ceased to be a hospital then the University could buy back the site. In April, 2016, the Western Infirmary site was transferred to the University for £14m.

Images of the start of demolition on the former Western Infirmary site

First published: 14 November 2017

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