Papers of Sir Andrew Watt Kay, (b. 1916)

Scope and Content

Letters received, 1948-1981; unpublished addresses, 1977-1983; honorary degree presentations, 1966-1981; material relating to his retirement, 1981; newspaper cuttings, 1939-1981; educational awards and honorary titles, 1933-1981; photographs, c.1960's-1988; miscellaneous items including two wooden shields, 1969.

Administrative / Biographical History

Sir Andrew Watt Kay was born in Newton-on-Ayr on 14 August 1916. He was educated at Ayr Academy and the University of Glasgow where he graduated Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery (MB, ChB) with honours and was awarded the Brunton Memorial prize in 1939. After graduation he rapidly acquired his surgical qualifications and the degrees of Doctor in Medicine (MD) and Master in Surgery (ChM) both with honours; the doctorate attracted the highest award of the Faculty of Medicine – the Bellahouston Gold Medal. His training as a house surgeon began under A J Hutton, the then Senior Surgeon at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow, followed in 1942 by the post of Junior Surgeon in the University Department of Surgery at the Western under Professor Charles Illingworth. He held this post until 1956. During this period he published his original observations on gastric acid secretion which pointed the way to the modern understanding of histamine receptors in the stomach. At the same time, together with R A Jamieson, he began the first edition of the "Textbook of Surgical Physiology". He was Major in the Royal Army Medical Corps in charge of the Surgical Division, Millbank Military Hospital, 1946 – 1948. For a brief period of two years from 1956 he was Consultant Surgeon in charge of Wards at the Western Infirmary, Glasgow before accepting the Chair of Surgery at the University of Sheffield in 1958. He returned to Glasgow in 1964 as Regius Professor of Surgery.

He was appointed a member of the Medical Research Council and of the Royal Commission on Medical Education on which he played a leading role in the design of the undergraduate curriculum. Thereafter, he became Chairman of the Academic Advisory Committee responsible for establishing the new Medical School at the University of Leicester. In 1972 he became the first holder of the post of Chief Scientist, Scottish Home and Health Department, and simultaneously President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. He received a knighthood in 1973. He retired in 1981.


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

Gift from depositor's family.

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

Held with depositor's family.


Not expected.

Location of Originals

This material is original.


No known publications.


Geographical Names