Nurses Home


The Nurses Home, now demolished, was located on the Western Infirmary site to the north of John Burnet Sr’s main hospital building. In 1878 the Managers of the Infirmary announced that John Freeland of Nice, elder son of the founder of John Freeland & Co. a Glasgow firm which traded extensively with the West Indies, had bequeathed £40,000 to expand the Western Infirmary’s accommodations. The addition included nine wards in the East Wing and an additional residential block for the nursing staff built away from the main hospital but linked to the hospital through a covered walkway.

John Burnet Sr was again the architect and construction began in July 1879. The hospital extensions were formally opened June 1, 1881 by the Lord Provost of Glasgow, the Hon. John Ure. By 1884 more space was required for the nursing staff. The original Nurses Home housed 43 nurses but quickly rose to 70, many shared bedrooms and some had to sleep in side rooms next to the wards. As a result, an addition to the Home was constructed at a cost of £14,000. This enabled 75 staff members to be housed in separate bedrooms. The old covered walkway that linked the Home with the Infirmary was replaced by a conservatory which was described as spacious and cheerful.

The extended accommodations were warmly received as Miss Gertrude Arthur (Mrs. Matheson), the first Sister Tutor from 1919 to 1923, recounts: “The Nurses Home had excellent accommodation and each nurse had her own room. Hot water and baths were unlimited. The food was good and plentiful and we were well looked after in sickness. We even had breakfast in bed if we wanted it on a 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. pass.”

In 1919, a reduction in nurses’ hours of duty was implemented. This necessitated an increase of staff and therefore of accommodation in the Nurses Home. In 1922, the Infirmary’s Managers received a £50,000 legacy from the Trustees of Mr. Alexander Elder of Liverpool. It was agreed that the money would fund the much needed extension of the Nurses Home which would also include a nurses’ lecture room with ancillary accommodation for practical instruction and study, and a Memorial Chapel. The nurses’ lecture and study rooms were competed and in use in 1923 while the other buildings were finished in 1925.

The Nurses Home was demolished in the 1980s along with Burnet Sr’s main hospital building.


Nurses Home
Western Infirmary
Record last updated: 20th Aug 2015

University Connections

Associated people