Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital

Scope and Content

Most of this collection is in relation to matters surrounding pregnancy and gynaecology, with A. K. Maxwell’s work featuring strongly. The collection comprises of illustrations and diagrams, c. 1910-11; photographic images and glass negatives, 1940-56; printed materials, 1905-1911.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital was founded in 1834 in Greyfriars Wynd as the Glasgow Lying-In Hospital and Dispensary. It moved to St Andrews Square in 1841 and in 1860 to the Rottenrow. Completely new buildings were erected on the Rottenrow site in 1880/81 and a substantial extension added in 1908. These buildings had a bed complement of 108 beds and contained a large lecture theatre and operating theatre for clinical teaching purposes. A West End Branch was opened at 491 St Vincent St in 1888. This was closed in 1941 having been damaged during an air raid.

The title Glasgow Royal Maternity and Women's Hospital was granted in 1914 and the present shorter version adopted in 1960. A clinical laboratory was opened in 1926 and a new nurses home in 1928. A new out-patients department was opened in 1955. In 1948 the hospital was placed under the Board of Management for Glasgow Maternity and Women's Hospitals. At the re-organisation of the National Health Service in 1974 the hospital was placed in the Eastern District of the Greater Glasgow Health Board and from 1993 it was under the Glasgow Royal Infirmary University National Health Service Trust. In 1966 the Western Regional Hospital Board decided that the hospital should be replaced. In 1998 a move to new premises at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary seemed likely and this relocation took place in 2001.

Many of the illustrations found within this collection can be attributed to A. Kirkpatrick Maxwell. Maxwell was born in Annan in 1884 before moving to Glasgow where he developed a strong interest in drawing. Encouraged by his father, Maxwell served an apprenticeship with a local lithographer whilst taking evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art before gaining considerable reputation after illustrating a book written by Dr Bles of Glasgow University's zoology department. However, it was in the field of medical illustration that Maxwell would forge a name for himself. During the First World War he produced surgical illustrations of post-mortem specimens and war injuries, many of which were published in The British Journal of Surgery. During the inter-war period, he was appointed Artist to the Department of Anatomy and Embryology at the University College Hospital in London. Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Maxwell was called upon to illustrate battle and air-raid casualties. The gifted illustrator went on to produce drawings for a large number of medical books including Quain's Anatomy, Gray's Anatomy and Hamilton's Anatomy before passing away in 1975 at the age of 91.


This collection is categorised by type of source and ordered chronologically where possible.

Access Information

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