G Block

Description

G Block refers to an extension of John Burnet Sr’s 1874 Western Infirmary. Designed by John James Burnet, in consultation with Dr Donald James Mackintosh, the extension was built in 1906 and was further extended in 1911.

In 1902 the Infirmary’s managers recorded their grave concern at the ever increasing demand on indoor accommodation due to overcrowding caused, in particular, from accidents. On the afternoon of 5 April, 1902, during the Scotland versus England football match at the Rangers Football Club in Ibrox, a stand collapsed. In all 223 patients were treated at the Western: 150 were admitted and fourteen died within the Infirmary. The 1902 disaster served to focus public attention on the need for hospital expansion and by the end of 1903 £30,000 had been raised by public appeal to proceed with the building of the north wing of G Block. John James Burnet, in consultation with Dr Mackintosh, designed the wing. This building consisted of three large wards with essential ancillary accommodation and side wards together with residents’ quarters, a central staircase and two lifts. This north wing was linked with the Outpatients Building, built between 1902 and 1905, and opened without ceremony on 9 October, 1906.

Two years later the need for more beds returned and the Western’s Managers made a further appeal for funds towards the erection of a south wing. Further expansion was estimated at a cost of £35,000. The south wing of G Block included three wards: one was endowed by Mr. William Robertson, a member of the Board of Managers from 1906, and named the William Robertson Ward, the other two smaller wards on the ground floor were named the McCall Anderson Ward and the A. B. Buchanan Memorial Ward. Over time other wards were named in memory of various donors while one, the King George V and Queen Mary Ward, commemorates the Royal Visit in July, 1914. The south wing was opened by Sir James Barr, MD, LLD, President Elect of the British Medical Association on 13 October, 1911.

Together the two wings were originally designated “D” Block and some time after 1974 this was changed to "G" Block. The long north-south block comprises six-storeys and was built in a Scots Baronial and Renaissance style containing crow stepped gables, balustrade details, and wallhead dormer windows. Many of the original timber windows have been replaced with UPVC, but some remain and show that the original windows were painted green.

After the construction of the south wing, G Block, and by extension the Outpatients Building, stood isolated from the main Infirmary. A new block to connect the new extension with the Infirmary was proposed. It was suggested that the new block contain a new Admission Department, four operating theatres, three lecture rooms and three suites for resident medical staff. The new block, referred to as G Block East, was constructed through generous donations. The trustees of the late Mr. Edward David gifted £16,000 to meet the cost of the waiting hall, receiving office, examination rooms and adjacent theatre (these were named in his memory) and Mr. William Robertson gifted £3,500 towards the cost of the operating theatre on the same floor as the ward that he had endowed. Construction began in 1913 and was completed in 1916.

The Alexander Elder Memorial Chapel, also built by J. J. Burnet, was added to the west elevation of G Block in 1925. The porch and single-storey extension to the south were added to G Block in the 1980s.

Summary

G Block
Western Infirmary
Glasgow
Record last updated: 17th Jul 2015

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