Papers and photographs relating to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Miscellaneous material, 1820-1944, including an inventory of surgical instruments and catalogue of Surgery-Class Museum, 1825-1866, a plan of proposed new fever wards, 1884 and an index of diseases, 1926-1945; booklets, 1894-1929, including The Constitution and Rules and Regulations of the Royal Infirmary, 1894, The Charters of the Royal Infirmary, late 19th century, Mansion House: Glasgow's Greatest Guest House, its purpose and its problems, 1916, A Humble Plea for the retention of the Famous Lister ward in the Royal Infirmary of Glasgow, 1923; addresses given to the annual meeting of delegates of employee contributors to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 1927-1931; photographs, c.1860-1940/50.

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 1828-34. 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 1909-14. 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. 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. 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.


Arranged chronologically within record series.

Conditions Governing Access

Access to some items may be restricted. Please contact the Archivist at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Acquisition Information

Not known.

Other Finding Aids

Descriptive list available at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Archivist. We will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but the responsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the reader.

Appraisal Information

Appraised in accordance with GB 250's collection policy.

Custodial History

Not known.


Not expected.

Location of Originals

This material is original.


This material is original.