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Gartnavel Royal Hospital - History

A brief history of Gartnavel Royal Hospital  

1804 - Fund-raising committee formed to build the hospital.  

1814 - Glasgow Lunatic Asylum opened - on site now covered by Buchanan Bus Station.  

1824 - Royal charter granted for the hospital, giving the hospital a legal existence and the name Glasgow Royal Asylum.

1843 - Glasgow Royal Asylum moves to the present Gartnavel site in the west of the City to escape from noise and pollution of the growing city.  

1857 - Lunacy (Scotland) Act passed to regulate admission and treatment.  

1889 - Gartnavel ceases to accept pauper patients (those receiving parish poor relief) and develops as one of Britain’s leading fee-paying psychiatric hospitals.  

1922 - Occupational therapy unit opens on the Gartnavel Site – first in Scotland.  

1948 - Creation of NHS  

1954 - Group therapy for schizophrenic patients inaugurated within Gartnavel Royal Asylum.  

1958 - Henderson House – the first new ‘satellite’ building for psychiatric patients opened in the grounds of the hospital. This housed 80 patients, 32 of them in single rooms. It attracted a good deal of attention as it was the first new mental health inpatient facility in Scotland since the creation of the NHS ten years earlier.  

1963 - The name of the hospital changes from Glasgow Royal Asylum to Gartnavel Royal Hospital.  

1973 - The Gartnavel General Hospital opens close to Gartnavel Royal Hospital. The opportunity was taken to integrate some psychiatric services into the new hospital. In particular, out-patient clinics for the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction were incorporated into the General Hospital.   The Gartnavel site still had a lot of open space after the General Hospital had been completed. This was used by Gartnavel Royal and included one of the oldest bowling clubs in Glasgow. There were also piggeries and greenhouses. Both served as a form of occupational therapy for psychiatric patients.

1974 - McNiven House, a specialist unit for confused elderly (or psycho-geriatric) patients is built in the hospital grounds.

Late 1980’s – early 1990’s - Timbury, Cuthbertson and Tate House open in the hospital grounds to provide more modern facilities for patients and staff.  

1990s - Infectious disease medicine and homeopathy services move to the Gartnavel site.  

2007 – The new Gartnavel Royal Hospital opens on the Gartnavel site. This new £19m hospital is the most modern and innovative building of its kind in the UK. It has been designed to be as light, spacious and airy as possible. All 117 beds are provided in individual rooms with en-suite facilities and the hospital also has a community café and family room.

Last Updated: 28 November 2018