Institute of Virology


The Institute of Virology building was constructed by Basil Spence & Partners in association with Peter Glover in 1961. It was the first institute of Virology in a British university.

In 1956 Principal Hector Hetherington was determined to create a centre of medical excellence based around the first institute of Virology in a British university and a purpose-built department of Genetics. These were to be built on the site of the old Anderson College of Medicine which was acquired in 1947. The department of Virology, which housed the new Medical Research Council (MRC) Experimental Virus Research Unit, was given a grant of £237,000 by the Scottish Hospital Endowments Research Trust in April 1957 for a new building. The new Virology institute was aimed to entice Professor Michael Stoker from Cambridge. Stoker became the first Professor of Virology at the University of Glasgow – which was the first Chair of Virology to be established at a British University – from 1958 to 1968.

In October 1957 Basil Spence & Partners put forward a two-phase scheme for Virology and Genetics that would link both buildings but would require the demolition of the old Anderson College building. 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 on a site occupied by nine tenement flats and six shops. The new Genetics building consists of a nine-storey tower adjacent to Anderson College and the Institute of Virology is situated in a rectangular-plan four-storey block facing Church Street with a single storey ancillary L-plan range behind. There is a bridge link between Genetics and Virology at second floor level. Plans for the Virology Institute were finally approved in September 1958. W & JR Watson were appointed as the contractors and construction began on 8 June 1959. The new Institute of Virology building was formally inaugurated on 4 May 1961.

An extension on the north side of the building was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and officially opened in 1982. This increased space in the building by 25%.

A new £20 million Medical Research Council (MRC) University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research has been housed in the newly built Sir Michael Stoker Building. Located on the Garscube Estate and built in 2012-2014 the building was officially opened 6 February 2015.


Institute of Virology
8 Church Street
G11 5JR
Record last updated: 18th Jun 2015

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