Records of Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Glasgow, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Minutes, 1787-1985;
  • Annual Reports, 1795-1989;
  • Financial records, 1792-1962;
  • Papers of St Mungo's College, 1889-1937;
  • Ward Day Books and Ward Journals, 1794-1890;
  • Subject files, correspondence and papers, 1788-1984;
  • Plans, 1863-1985;
  • Photographs, paintings, drawings and display items, 1889-1974;
  • Miscellaneous material 1856-1986;
  • Nursing records, 1902-1960;
  • Pathology Department records, 1895-1974;
  • Almoners/Medical Social Work Department, 1935-1972;
  • Material relating to Dr William Hunter, 1922-c.1970s;
  • Charters, 1791-1932;
  • Superintendents Weekly Reports, 1838-1939;
  • Circulated documents, 1948-1959;
  • Superintendents' Letter Books, 1910-1928;
  • Ward day books and journals, 1794-1950;
  • Registers of admissions and discharges, 1794-1939.

Administrative / Biographical History

The GRI is the oldest extant hospital in Glasgow and for much of the last two hundred years it has been a major teaching hospital. The Royal opened in 1794 and had 136 beds. An extension added a further 72 beds in 1815. A separate Fever Hospital built between 1828 and 1834 had a nominal capacity of 220 beds (but not uncommonly held considerably more patients during epidemics). The Surgical House, opened in 1861, increased the bed capacity to over 600.

A complete reconstruction of the GRI was undertaken during the Edwardian era. Originally mooted as an 1897 Diamond Jubilee project, the rebuilding was completed in 1911-14. In 1940 a new Out Patients Department was opened, following the incorporation of the Glasgow Central Dispensary into the GRI in 1937.

Until 1874 the Royal was the only hospital in which clinical teaching could be conducted in Glasgow. When Glasgow University removed to Gilmorehill and the new Western Infirmary was opened, the GRI lost most of its students. In 1875 an independent GRI Medical School was established and in 1889 this became St Mungo's College. Rivalry gradually gave way to cooperation and university teaching was resumed in the Royal in 1911.

When the GRI joined the NHS in 1948 it brought with it two outlying institutions, the Schaw Convalescent Home (opened in 1895) and Canniesburn Auxiliary Hospital (opened in 1938). Within the NHS the Royal became the hub of the Board of Management for the Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Associated Hospitals. This Board was responsible not only for the GRI, Schaw Home and Canniesburn Hospital but also for Belvidere Hospital, Duke Street Hospital and several clinics. References to these hospitals and clinics will be found throughout the Board of Management minutes, annual reports and correspondence. Since the reorganisation of the NHS in 1974, the GRI has experienced rapid changes in its administrative status: at present it functions as a free standing Unit within the Greater Glasgow Health Board.


Arranged in series.

Access Information

There is a 75 year closure period on medical records of adults, and a 100 year closure period on medical records of minors. The 75 year closure period also applies to staff records.

If you seek records within these periods, or information regarding your own treatment or employment, you should contact the Archivist.

Other Finding Aids

A paper-based catalogue can be found in the searchroom.

Appraisal Information

Appraised according to standard GB 0812 procedure.

Custodial History

There have been five attempts to catalogue this collection, with this finding aid being the most up to date attempt. Care has been taken not to replicate the work made by previous colleagues in this project to assist access to these records.


Further accruals expected.