Anderson College


The Anderson College building was acquired by the University in 1947 when it merged with the old Anderson College of Medicine. It currently houses the Molecular Genetics Division of the Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences and the Glasgow International College.

Anderson College was founded in 1796 following the will of John Anderson, Professor of Natural Philosophy at the University of Glasgow from 1757 to 1796. Initially known as Anderson’s Institution, in 1828 it changed its name to Anderson’s University and finally to Anderson’s College in 1877. The Institution’s medical school was founded in 1800 when Dr John Burns commenced lectures on anatomy and surgery. In 1887 the medical school of Anderson’s College became a separate and distinct institution known as Anderson’s College Medical School.

The College relocated to Dumbarton Road, near the Western Infirmary and the University, in 1889. The ornate building on the site was designed in an eclectic free style of Italian and Scots Renaissance by James Sellars of Campbell Douglas & Sellars in 1888 but was completed after his death in the same year by John Keppie of Honeyman & Keppie. John Keppie & Henderson carried out further work on the building in 1936.

The early Italian and Scots Renaissance is apparent in the building’s details, especially the transom, mullion windows and the balcony facing Dumbarton Road. The style connects the advances in medicine in the late nineteenth century to the advances of fourteenth century Italy. The large panel facing Dumbarton Road was made by Scottish sculptor James Pittendrigh MacGillivray and depicts the pioneering surgeon Peter Lowe (c1550-1612) who was granted authority by King James VI to regulate medicine, surgery and pharmacy in the west of Scotland.

In 1913 the school changed its name to The Anderson College of Medicine. As a prelude to the introduction of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948, the Goodenough Report of 1944 recommended a profound change in medical education that would make every medical school an integral part of a university – this led to the University’s absorption of the city’s two independent medical schools and their buildings, Anderson College and St Mungo’s College, in 1947. On inheriting Anderson College, the University occupied it as departmental buildings for Bacteriology and Genetics. In 1948 A.G. Henderson of Keppie, Henderson & J.L. Gleave converted the building to be used as classrooms for Anatomy and Physiology. In 1953-1954 the building was further altered by John Keppie, Henderson & J.L. Gleave. In October 1957 a new scheme proposed to demolish the old Anderson College building to make way for the new Institute of Virology and the Genetics, now Pontecorvo, Buildings, but, following discussions with the city planners, it was decided that the old College building should be retained and that the new buildings would be built on the corner of Church Street and Dumbarton Road.

Between 1992 and 1994 Anderson College building was refurbished by Boswell, Mitchell & Johnston. The south and east façade are all that remain of the original building built in 1888 with an entirely new interior and new exterior walls to the west and north. Since 1995 it has been home, along with the neighbouring Robertson and Pontecorvo Buildings, to the Molecular Genetics Division of the Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences. From 2007 it has housed the Glasgow International College.


Anderson College
Dumbarton Road
G11 6NU
Record last updated: 17th Jun 2015

University Connections

Associated people