MRC Blood Pressure Unit


The MRC Blood Pressure Unit was originally named The Clinical Chemotherapy Research Unit. In 1946 it was announced that the Medical Research Council would finance a Clinical Chemotherapy Unit. The building, completed in the 1950s, was built between the Tennent Institute and the Physiotherapy Department with funds provided by the Department of Health and the Medical Research Council and was formally opened by the Hon. James Stuart, then Secretary of State for Scotland. The Unit was to operate under the supervision of Sir John McNee in the Gardiner Institute. McNee was Regius Professor of Practice of Medicine at the University of Glasgow from 1936 to 1953. The director of the Unit was to be James Reid who had been an Extra Dispensary Physician since 1941 and whose war-time thesis on the treatment of malaria with Mepacrine had earned a Bellahouston Medal.

After Reid’s death in 1961, Brian Bronte-Stewart became the director of the unit and the subject of research became Atheroma. Under Bronte-Stewart’s direction the unit earned high prestige for its studies in the clinical, pathological and epidemiological aspects of Atheroma. The work was sadly interrupted when Bronte-Steward died in 1965. The deep impression that he created during these short years is evident by the Bronte-Steward Memorial Lectureship which was endowed by private subscription and founded in 1967.

In 1965 a team from St. Mary’s Hospital, London, took over and renamed the unit the “Blood Pressure Unit.” The team consisted of A.F. Lever (who became director), J.T.S. Robertson, and J.J. Brown. The team studied the adrenal and renal mechanisms concerned with water and electrolyte balance with particular reference to hypertension, heart failure and Addison’s disease.

The building housing the MRC Blood Pressure Unit is economically post-war in its style and relies on an interesting fenestration pattern on the street façade rather than stone detailing to give the structure character. The building forms part of an attractive and complete wall of buildings running along the eastern side of Church Street which comprise Pathology, Bacteriology and Immunology, the Outpatients Building, the Gardiner Institute of Medicine, the Department of Surgery Building, and the Western Clinical Research and Education Centre (formerly the Tennent Institute).


MRC Blood Pressure Unit
Western Infirmary
Record last updated: 21st Aug 2015

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