Here’s a (slightly paraphrased) question from @Tall_Tucks on the Old Glasgow Twitter:
Do you still take requests? My Mum would like to know about the Sick Children’s Hospital dispensary on West Graham Street.
First of all, to anyone wondering, I do take requests but I don’t have any Diana Ross so don’t even ask.
This deceptively large curiosity sits among the new builds of Cowcaddens and doesn’t make a lot of sense if viewed out of context. Why would a dispensary for a Sick Children’s hospital be so far from Yorkhill?
Well, as I briefly mentioned in a previous post, l’hôpital de sick weans hasn’t always been out in the West End. Up until 1914, the hospital was in Garnethill, just a (championship winning) stone’s throw from the Dispensary. The building at 45 Scott Street is still there today and forms part of St. Aloysius College.
Since the original hospital was significantly smaller than the leviathan at Yorkhill, the directors and medical staff intended to try and treat as many children as they could in an outpatient capacity. They had originally planned to build a Dispensary for that purpose on the hospital site but had run out of money.
Luckily the Duchess of Montrose (for it is she) organised a ‘Fancy Fair’ in the St. Andrew’s Hall to raise money. To sum up the idea of a ‘Fancy Fair’ in a sentence, it’s like a Bring & Buy Sale for people with more money than sense. Regardless, the money was raised and the Dispensary built.
It opened in 1888 and provided a large dispensing room, a waiting area, consulting rooms for physicians, an isolation room for infectious weans and accommodation for the sisters and caretaker.
In 1889 the Dispensary saw more than 4,000 patients and this number had more than tripled by 1914.
When the new hospital opened, the Dispensary continued its work with poor children, adding a physiotherapy department, a department for skin diseases and a speech clinic to its already large repertoire. It was eventually closed when the new outpatient unit opened at Yorkhill in 1953 and served as various labs for the Western Region Hospital Board until it was bought by Glasgow School of Art.
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