X-Ray Department


The X-Ray Department is located on Moy Street and is part of the Western Infirmary. The building was completed in 1930 as an extension to the School of Massage, Medical Electricity and Remedial Exercises (later Physiotherapy) built from 1919 to 1921.

The Western Infirmary was one of the first institutions to make use of X-Rays for diagnostic purposes. Donald Mackintosh, the Medical Superintendent, studied fractures and dislocations by experimenting with a small static machine and a vacuum tube made for him by Muller of Hamburg. As a result, Mackintosh published an atlas of bone trauma with clinical notes by George Edington, a dispensary surgeon, and in this way the X-Ray Department was founded. In 1908 W. F. Sommerville, Archibald Hay and J. Goodwin Tomkinson were appointed Medical Electricians, the term used to describe medical staff engaged in X-Ray work and other types of electrotherapy, and accommodation for the Department was provided in the Outpatients Building in two of the larger rooms which later became part of the Casualty Department.

Between 1920 and 1930 the use of X-Ray photographs heavily increased from about 6000 in 1920 to over 19,000 by 1930. This continuing increase led to the construction of the new X-Ray Department which was formally opened October 24, 1930 by Mrs R. D. MacGregor. Colonel J. A. Roxburgh, the chairman of the Board of Governors, presided, and an address was given by Dr Charles O. Hawthorne, the chairman of the Representative Body of the British Medical Association. Over £21,000 had been given by various generous donors for the new building and its equipment - Mrs MacGregor and her husband were amongst the first and largest contributors.

At the time the building faced Dumbarton Road and was designed so that light and air were not obstructed from any of the wards of the Infirmary. In addition to carrying out treatments using X-Rays the Department also provided treatments using radium, forming an important unit in the hospital’s organisation as the National Radium Centre.

Between 1965 and 1975 a small section of the X-Ray Department building used for radium research was demolished to ease access to the newly completed Phase I building. In 1970 the Bone Metabolism Unit was built on top of the X-Ray Department.


X-Ray Department
Western Infirmary
Record last updated: 7th Aug 2015

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