Residents' club

Scope and Content

Residents' record books, invitations, lecture notes, lists of members, etc.

Administrative / Biographical History

From the later part of the nineteenth century until the advent of the NHS in 1948, the Residents (properly called the resident medical staff) at the Western Infirmary and other British teaching hospitals consisted of recently qualified doctors. Their Chiefs were visiting consultants who conducted rounds in their wards once or twice per day, except that each ward in rotation was designated a receiving ward, and on receiving days the Chief might be present for the greater part of the day.

The Residents undertook the bulk of medical and surgical work on their wards. On surgical wards they assisted their chiefs with major operations. They were accommodated in bedrooms immediately adjacent to their wards and were effectively on call all day and every day, unless special arrangements had been made. The ordinary term of service as a Resident was six months. Some served a second term.

Service as a Resident in a major teaching hospital was a route to success in a medical career, especially in a hospital-based career. Consequently, competition was strong and the Western Infirmary could pick and choose its Residents. Until the First World War it was the policy of the Infirmary to have only male Residents.

The Residents dined together in a Mess provided by the Infirmary. This also served as a social centre where magazines and newspapers were available and there was a piano. Despite the pressures on their time the Residents contrived to have a busy sporting and social life. To this end they organised themselves collectively.

Former Residents formed a Residents’ Club which held an annual dinner as a form of reunion. Through the Club secretary’s list of members former Residents, including a large number living away from Glasgow (many of them overseas), could maintain contact. The Club was dissolved in 1974.