Anatomy Timeline

Image of University tower through a window1715 Anatomy was first taught at the original University of Glasgow site on High Street, by local surgeon John Gordon.

1720 The Chair of Anatomy and Botany was established. However, its incumbent, Thomas Brisbane, taught only Botany, finding dissection to be distasteful.

1730 John Paisley, a Glasgow surgeon, was recruited to teach Anatomy at the University.

1742-56 Robert Hamilton served as Regius Professor of Anatomy and Botany. He was followed by his brother Thomas (1757-1781), and subsequently Thomas’s son, William (1781-1790).

1744 -1749 On several occasions, mobs broke windows and forced doors at the University — acts of public agitation connected to the procurement of cadavers for anatomical teaching.


Professor James Jeffray

Image of James JeffrayProfessor James Jeffray was Regius Professor at the University of Glasgow from 1790-1848 — a record of tenure for a medical chair.

In 1818, he was successful in petitioning for the Regius Chairs of Anatomy and Botany to be separated.

Jeffray was a popular teacher of Anatomy and had a class of around 200 students.

Jeffray is remembered for: 

  • the invention of a surgical chain saw
  • his attempt to revive the body of a hanged murderer, Matthew Clydesdale, by means of an electric current