Glasgow - Victoria Infirmary

Glasgow Biochemists' Club


In 1925 Stephen Veitch Telfer was appointed to a Lectureship in Pathological Biochemistry at Glasgow University. This was combined with an appointment as Clinical Biochemist to the Western Infirmary and the salaries were 500 and 200 respectively. His was the first such appointment arising from an anonymous donation to Glasgow University for to provide at one or more "lectureships designed for the advancement of medical knowledge by means of biochemical or other special methods of scientific research for the Glasgow clinical hospitals connected with the University". During the 1920s he was a senior member of a team directed by Leonard Findlay, Professor of Paediatrics, which studied the problem of rickets in children. (ref: 1,11,107)

In 1946 Katherine M Mackay and Margaret Mackie succeeded Katherine Stevens (Mrs Walker) and Margot Reid (Mrs Tidd) who had been Assistant Biochemists in the early 1940s and who both left in 1946. At that time, Telfer, Mackay and Mackie were the three graduate members of staff. Mackay recalls Telfer as having no desk and no obvious filing system. He performed his own calcium estimations (by the Clark and Collip method). He never wore a lab coat in the laboratory or in the wards and he wrote on the corner of a laboratory bench on single sheets of paper which he kept folded in his coat pocket. Telfer retired ca. 1947. Edward B Hendry, from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, was invited to apply for the post but declined at that time. (ref: 60)

Because there were doubts about the future for biochemists in the Western Infirmary under the National Health Service, Mackay and Mackie decided to apply for alternate posts elsewhere in the country. M Mackie was appointed to a post in South Shotley Bridge, North West Durham in 1950 and as Senior Biochemist at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary in 1952. She remained in Dumfries, where she was appointed later as Principal Biochemist, for the rest of her career, retired in October 1988 and died in May 1990. K Mackay was appointed to Dundee Royal Infirmary in 1951, Beverley, Yorkshire in 1956 and Ballochmyle, Ayrshire in 1960 where she later became Principal Biochemist and from where she retired in 1989. (ref: 60,61)

Edward B Hendry, who had been invited to apply for Telfer's post in 1947, was approached by JN Davidson to reconsider the post in 1950, while on leave from Ibadan in Nigeria. Dan F Cappell was the Pathologist in overall charge of the laboratories. Hendry insisted that he would be responsible to the University Court on academic matters and to the Regional Hospital Board on hospital matters. He had returned to Nigeria by the time this was agreed and, thus, he took up his post in February 1951. Hendry had been a Lecturer at Aberdeen University (1945-46), Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (1931-34 and also in the 1940s) and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (dates uncertain). His initial impression of his new department was of "one large room cunningly constructed to give minimum bench space for maximum gloom space". The equipment was poor and many of the reagents were stored in paper bags. The management training he gave Margaret Connell / Rae some 15 to 20 years later was "remember Space, Staff and Equipment". She also recalled his being obsessive / meticulous about the cleanliness of the analytical balance and his referring to the professorial medical unit as "the snake pit". Hendry retired in 1973 and died in 1988. (ref: 11,24,92,96, 173)

Arthur Ness, who had started his career in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1945, was appointed as the sole technician to undertake the routine work in April 1951. Ness recalled the laboratory as a beautiful, approximately square, room with windows along one wall and large roof windows. There were three island benches of thick teak. Although all the electrical sockets were fitted with a plug, only one appeared to have been used. From the architecture, electrical fittings, etc., it was apparent that the laboratory had been part of the Ophthalmology Department (possibly the Tennant Memorial). On Ness's first day, he and Hendry did the routine work. Hendry did two ureas. (The method used 3 mL of blood, measured in a 10 mL measuring cylinder, which were transferred to a boiling tube with jack bean meal - the urea was estimated by aeration and titration.) Ness estimated an icteric index which involved crushing such lumps of potassium dichromate as appeared to be free from obvious foreign matter, to make a stock standard solution and reading the colours on an early EEL colorimeter. (ref: 115)

The laboratories had been taken into the N.H.S. by this time and finance became available to set up a modern biochemistry laboratory. (There was no Haematology Department at that time and, as was usual in most laboratories, the biochemistry department carried out the assays of prothrobin time.) Soon regular deliveries of reagents (AnalaR, when available), Quickfit and Quartz glassware, retort stands, etc and a wide selection of grade A, National Physics Laboratory certified volumetric equipment were received. New methods were set up and a comprehensive routine service was provided which expanded rapidly over the ensuing years. There was a research laboratory in the Gardner Institute, attached to the medical professorial unit (wards D3 and D4) which did all the routine work for the professorial wards. Sydney Rae, from RHSC, Edinburgh, was the chief technician. Even after Hendry's department had been equipped, the Gardner Institute appeared to be always ahead and had several channels of Technicon Analyser before Hendry's Laboratory. The Institute was also early in using plate chromatography and radio-isotopes. There were also large Surgical Department Laboratories and research was being conducted "in all sorts of crannies and nooks". (ref: 115, 157)

William Good, from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed ca. 1951 as Assistant Lecturer, with teaching duties in both the Department of Biochemistry and of Pathological Biochemistry, while working for his PhD. His project concerned the influence of various substances, including substituted ureas, on erythrocytes. The chemicals were available from Messrs Light & Co who, at that time, had a reputation for sending representatives to various universities and colleges to buy any student preparations of chemicals which were available in any quantity. As a consequence, many of the substances were impure and may not have been what was stated on the label. Good left to take up an industrial appointment with Menstrie Distillers Co. in 1954. (ref: 27,85,115)

Ca. 1953, the laboratory at Gartnavel Mental Hospital (later called Gartnavel Royal Hospital) closed and Maurice Jowett moved to the Western Infirmary as a senior member of the department.

Jowett had attended the first meeting of the Glasgow Area Biochemists Group in 1949 and his departmental address was given as the West of Scotland Neuro-Psychiatric Research Institute, 17 Shelly Road. This was where Andrew P Kenny and DB Colquhoun worked with Forbes Robertson in 1938.

In 1952 Maurice Jowett was a member of a four man delegation from Scotland who attended the meeting at Market Drayton on 24th May which led to the formation of the Association of Clinical Biochemists in 1953. (James C Eaton, Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Ian A Anderson, Victoria Infirmary and J Wilson Chambers, Stobhill General Hospital, were the others.) He was remembered as "an old world gentleman whose lab work was painstakingly slow and accurate"

Ca. 1953, Dr Hutcheson, who later was to be in charge of the Haematology Department, was working on iron absorption and EB Hendry assisted with the management of the patients treated with a commercial preparation of organic iron. Hutcheson also worked on the dispersal of intramuscularly injected iron in rats and for some time Jowett assayed iron in samples of rat leg muscle. About this time, Hendry took an interest in the measurement of osmolality. The first osmometer was about the size and shape of a tea chest and it took two people to lift it onto the bench. (ref: 115)

In 1954 Rachel McDonald succeeded William Good as Assistant Lecturer. During the next four years she undertook research which led to a PhD, for which the external assessor was CP Stewart from Edinburgh. This research included studies of ascorbic acid which showed that the elderly patients in the orthopaedic ward frequently had little detectable. She also undertook some studies on the feeding of dogs with rusks, at the Glasgow University Veterinary Laboratories in Bearsden. In 1957 McDonald married Tom Douglas, who later became Professor of Veterinary Biochemistry in Glasgow University, and she left in 1958. She later became a secondary school chemistry teacher. (ref: 85,115)

During the 1950s, McDonald was assigned the task of finding an improved method for blood glucose. The residents in some wards did blood sugars by the Folin and Wu method (tungstic acid precipitation of proteins followed by reduction of an alkaline copper solution). A crisis had arisen when duplicate estimations by one resident showed that a patient was both greatly hyperglycaemic and greatly hypoglycaemic. Following a literature search, McDonald chose the Nelson Somogyi method (using arsenomolybdate which develops a more stable colour with the reduced copper solution). When the next three patients came for a glucose tolerance test, the samples were divided into three portions - one for the side room Folin and Wu method, one for the Nelson Somogyi and the third was assayed by Maurice Jowett using the Hagedorn and Jensen method (protein precipitation by zinc oxide and heat, followed by reduction of alkaline ferricyanide - the unreduced ferricyanide being determined iodometrically).

By lunch time it was found that the Nelson-Somogyi method had given results 20-30mg/100mL (1.1 - 1.7 mmol/L) higher than the Folin & Wu. By 5pm the results by Hagedorn & Jensen were available and were found to be almost identical to the Nelson-Somogyi method. The Nelson-Somogyi method was adopted immediately. (ref: 85)

Ca. 1954, Jowett went to Killearn Hospital to establish the biochemistry service there. (ref: 85,95)

Sheenah Bissett (later Davie), a Dundee graduate, joined the staff at the Western Infirmary in 1955. Bissett introduced an assay for serum iron for Dr Donald Alexander and undertook some research work using the Warburg apparatus which was housed (among the cockroaches) in a cellar. (ref: 85)

Barbara Mackenzie (later Kermack), an Aberdeen graduate, was appointed as Clinical Biochemist in 1954. When she arrived at the Western Infirmary, she found that, for a scientific laboratory, it was a strangely religious place. Glasgow was preparing for the 1955 Billy Graham Crusade to be held in the Kelvin Hall on the opposite side of the road from the Infirmary and various members of staff were involved in choir practice, etc. Mackenzie and McDonald set up an emergency service, for which alkali reserve, potassium and blood sugar were the main estimations. Mackenzie also studied barbiturate poisoning. Dr MacDonald, in Dr McCluskie's Medical Unit, had noted that the time it took for patients to recover from barbiturate coma varied. It was thought that this was dependent on hepatic function and could be used as the basis of a liver function test. In 1959, Mackenzie took charge of the laboratory at Killearn Hospital. (ref: 85,115) Her letter of appointment stated:-

18th August 1959

Dear Barbara,

I have not been able to see Dr MacQueen about the Killearn post. By the time of the closing date for applications, he had gone off on holiday, and he will not be back until after I've gone.

However, the position is that there were four candidates, but one has since withdrawn. Of the remaining three, one is completely hopeless, one I know personally and would not have under any circumstances, and the third is no damned good either.

As far as I am concerned, the position is that if you want the post, you can have it, and I do not think that Dr MacQueen or the Board would raise any objection, but, of course, I cannot speak on their behalf. Nothing can happen until I return (I'm sorry about all the delay, but that is just what happens at this time of the year). I shall be back sometime about the 8-9th September. Meanwhile, you can be thinking seriously whether or not you would really like to take the job and I'll get things moving as soon as I return. Hope you have had a good holiday; I'm going to have a whale of a time!


In 1955 additional accommodation was built between the laboratory and the surgery department. This gave Hendry an office/laboratory and McDonald and Mackenzie a room to themselves. A further extension was built above the laboratories in the early 1960s. The lower floor disappeared in to subterranean "rooms", some of which served as the chemical store and were incompletely floored (i.e. earth). A "dumb waiter" ran between the floors for specimens, etc. It was also used for verbal communication. Much of the work of the routine laboratory in the mid 1950s concerned electrolyte balance and the study of diabetes. The Western Infirmary acquired one of the first haemodialysis systems in Scotland and this was sited in the side room in Dr McCluskie's Medical Unit. Patients were started on dialysis at 7 to 8 pm, depending on when the medical staff had finished their clinics and the surgical staff could come to install the cannulae. As there was little in the literature concerning the speed of removal of nitrogenous material, the staff assayed urea, electrolytes, creatinine and urate every hour until the early hours of the morning. In addition, the ingredients for the dialysis bath (sodium, potassium and calcium chloride, etc) were kept in weighed quantities (having been weighed by the medical staff) in the laboratory, dissolved in 5 litre flasks, checked by flame photometry and carried up the stairs to the medical unit. The laboratory equipment which took pride of place included a Hilger Spekker (later replaced by a UviSpek), a pH meter and the Van Slyke apparatus. Arthur Ness was appointed as the chief technician as the department grew. He was an excellent worker who gave all his trainees a good grounding in analytical techniques. (One of these, Tom Faulds, was appointed as Chief Technician at Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride. Faulds died of a coronary while still a young man.)

All reports were hand written and signed by EB Hendry or one of the three graduate biochemists. If the result appeared to be abnormal, the reports were delivered by hand to an appropriate member of the ward staff. On one such occasion, Hendry was delivering the result of an emergency barbiturate level on a "deeply comatose" patient by the name of (say) John Brown. Talking to the patients seated round the fireplace in the middle of the ward, Hendry asked about John Brown. "I'm John Brown" replied one of them! (ref: 66,85,95,115)

David B Horn was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1956, having completed his PhD at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary under CP Stewart. He was seconded to Vale of Leven Hospital, Alexandria, where he was responsible for equipping, opening and running the new laboratory there. He left to take up a Senior Biochemist post as Deputy to the late Garfield Thomas in Birmingham in 1959 and, in the same year, he was appointed as Principal Biochemist in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he was later (1964) appointed as Top Grade Biochemist. He was Top Grade Biochemist at Edinburgh Western General Hospital from 1966 to 1987. (ref: 48)

William HS Thomson ("Buster" Thomson) was appointed in 1958. He had graduated in Glasgow with 1st class honours in Chemistry in 1942 and, after a period undertaking research, had returned to Glasgow University to study medicine, graduating MB ChB in 1952. He embarked on a career in clinical biochemistry and was in Stobhill in the late 1950s. A formative year of his life was spent at Newcastle upon Tyne where he studied the biochemistry of muscular dystrophy (1957 to 1958). At the Western Infirmary, he developed assays for muscle enzymes and later his research centred on the role of the metabolism of purines by skeletal muscle. He was appointed as honorary consultant in 1971 and continued his researches for many years in Knightswood Hospital, Glasgow. He was a fiercely independent investigator and was supported by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. His latter years were marred by a dispute with that association and his loss of their support. He retired in 1982 and died in 1988. (ref: 112)

David M Goldberg was appointed as SHO in 1960, Registrar in 1961 and Senior Registrar in 1963. During this period he studied, in collaboration with the Departments of Medicine, Surgery and Gynaecology, molecular forms of glycolytic enzymes in human tumours, the biological effects of ionising radiation, pancreatic and intestinal proteolytic enzymes and diagnostic enzymology. 38 papers were published based on the results of these studies. Goldberg was Consultant Chemical Pathologist at the United Sheffield Hospitals from 1967 to 1975. He was appointed as Biochemist-in-Chief at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, in 1975 and Professor and Chairman of the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at the University of Toronto in 1977. (ref: 67)

Netta Pitts was appointed in 1961. As well as helping in the main laboratory, she worked mainly with David Goldberg on tumour enzyme levels. She moved with her husband to Cal Tech, Pasadena in 1963 and, following their return to Scotland, she worked with Hamish Munro in Glasgow University for a short period. (ref: 103)

Alastair CA Glen was appointed as Registrar in 1963. He spent 6 months with Hamish Munro at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, USA, measuring lymphocyte RNA as an index of lymphocytic activity, prior to being appointed to the Glasgow Victoria Infirmary in 1966.

Arthur Ness was seconded to Nairobi for twelve months in the mid 1960s and, soon after he returned to Glasgow, he then emigrated to Canada. Six months later, he took up an appointment in Furness General Hospital, Burrow on Furnace where he retired in 1992. (ref: 115, 157)

Margaret Connell (later Rae) was appointed as a Basic Grade Biochemist in January 1966 having graduated (same biochemistry class as Fiona Collie (later Ballantyne), Helen Eaton, Jim Shepherd, Alan Shenkin and Rudi Singh) and spent 18 months in Southern Nigeria (on Voluntary Service Overseas). Her memories included the acid dichromate glassware washing system (the glass specimen tubes were re-used after the blood clots had been discarded into a sink and the glass tubes washed), the ever present pipe of EBH and the coffee percolator on a tripod over the Bunsen burner. There were a few Technicon AA I AutoAnalyzers for blood urea and blood glucose and a somewhat erratic flame unit was being introduced (although, for on-call purposes, manual dilutions and an EEL flame photometer were used). After about six months leaning at the bench, Connell was considered competent to join the on-call rota which was for a week and comprised medics, biochemists and more senior technical staff. Blood barbiturates were fairly frequent requests and the manual scans on the UVISPEK were time consuming. Mouth pipetting was widely practised until the outbreak of hepatitis in Edinburgh in 1969/70. Hendry encouraged Connell to sit (and pass) her MCB and she was upgraded to Senior biochemist in 1971. She moved to the new lab (ahead of the patients) at Gartnavel General and then moved to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children as a Principal Biochemist in 1973. (ref: 173)

Martin Nicolson came from Glasgow Royal as "chief technician" after Arthur Ness had gone to Burrow on Furnace and Frank Moore had gone to Edinburgh. Nicholson retired in 2003. (ref: 173)

Jean Buchanan (later Cormack), who had worked at Stobhill ca. 1953 to 1958 was appointed to the Western and also served in Killearn Hospital. Margaret Rae recalled that Jean had sat and past the very first MCB examination just prior to her emigrating to Canada. (ref: 173)

Keith Walker, a medical biochemist was appointed as consultant ca. 1968. He had worked with Varley and Bell in Manchester and, in addition to his computing interests, was keen to set up urinary metadrenalines. He left in 1970 to become the Head of the Division of Biochemistry in the Department of Laboratory Medicine (and later Director of the Department) in the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, Canada.

William C Alston, from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Senior Registrar in 1968. He took up an appointment as Consultant in Frimley Park, Surrey in the 1970s. He retired in 1999 and died in 2017.

Alison J Dinwoodie, from the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1968. Margaret Connell worked with her on alkaline phosphatase substrate specificity and the separation of alkaline phosphatase isoenzymes on polyacrylamide gels; this led to work on the isoenzymes of LDH and the introduction of GGT. Dinwoodie was involved in the plans for the new laboratory at Gartnavel General Hospital (having helped plan the McLeod Street department at the Royal Infirmary). Dinwoodie moved to work with Keith Walker in Edmonton, Canada in 1972, taking charge of the Special Chemistry Unit and retired in 1994. (ref: 111, 173)

Anne Kelly came from the Victoria Infirmary and moved ca. 1971 to Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital and was Top Grade Biochemist in Paisley from 1977 to 1997.

Among the other biochemists who worked in the department in the 1950s and 1960s were Masood Chughtai who returned to Pakistan on completion of a postgraduate degree, Margaret Fletcher, Isobel Harrison (later Halliburton) who was an Assistant Lecturer in Davidson's department and who completed a PhD working with EB Hendry, Aileen Sinclair (later Cameron), and Colin Watts, who also worked at Killearn Hospital and who completed a PhD before going to the Veterinary Hospital in 1966 and to New Zealand in 1971. (ref: 173)

Christine Burness was appointed as secretary in 1956; a post she held until the 1996. (ref: 85,95)

A. Ralph Henderson worked one summer in the 1960s in the department. His memories include large vessels of acid dichromate in which all glassware had to be soaked and disgracing himself by "bending" one of the precious class A volumetric pipettes which were kept in special velvet-lined drawers in the balance room - the most holy room in the department. Ralph Henderson was appointed as Lecturer (1969) and Senior Lecturer (1972) at Glasgow Royal Infirmary before being appointed to the University Hospital of London, Ontario, Canada, in 1973. (ref: 66)

Janus Knepil was appointed as Basic Grade Biochemist in 1970 and as Senior Biochemist in 1980 and retired in 2011.

In 1970, John T Robson, from Dundee (1964 to 1966) and Stirling (1966 to 1970), was appointed as Consultant. He was appointed as Consultant at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1975 and moved to Australia in 1979.

Ian R Hainsworth from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow, and the Steroid Laboratory, Glasgow Royal Infirmary (1967 to 1971) was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1971. He was appointed as Top Grade Biochemist in the Singleton Hospital, Swansea, in 1983.

Alan Belfield was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1972. He had worked (with David M Goldberg) in Sheffield (1964 to 1971) prior to moving to Birmingham General Hospital in 1971. He was appointed as Principal Biochemist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1975, as Principal Biochemist at Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital in 1978 and as Top Grade Biochemist at Wexham Park Hospital in 1985.

D Fraser Davidson was appointed as Basic Grade Biochemist in 1972. He was appointed as Senior Biochemist in Ayrshire in 1980, Principal Biochemist in 1985 and Top Grade in 1997. He retired in 2015 and was elected as a Fellow Member of the ACB in 2016.

Adam Fleck, from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in 1974. He was appointed to the Chair of Chemical Pathology at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, London, in 1979. He was awarded the A.C.B. Vickers Award in 1982 and Emeritus Member of the ACB when he retired. He died in 2015. (ref: 63)

Sharon A Hollywood (later Gordon and then Russell) was appointed ca. 1974 and later was appointed as Senior (1984) and Principal (1990) Biochemist at the Biochemistry Department in Paisley.

Elliott Simpson, from Dundee, was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1975. He was appointed as Principal Biochemist at Monklands Hospital, Airdrie, in 1977 and Top Grade Biochemist in 1988. He retired in 2008.

In 1975, L Barry Roberts, from The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Hull Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Top Grade Biochemist. Roberts established regular quality control meetings soon after his appointment. Having listened to all the reasons why early morning meeting could not be held, he said that the meetings would start the following week and it is up to the staff whether or not they were present when the work of their sections was being discussed. He conducted several equipment evaluations on behalf of the ACB Automation Group. He retired in 1994 and died September 2003.

J Eric Carlyle from Glasgow Stobhill General and Royal Infirmary (1971 to 1975), was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1975. He was appointed as Top Grade Biochemist at Law Hospital in 1979 - his department moved to the new Wishaw General Hospital in 2001. He retired in 2010 and he was elected as an Emeritus Member of the ACB in 2011.

E Jean Lucas (later McAllister), from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1976. She won the John King Award in 1986.

John (Ian) Broom, Wellcome Research Fellow (1976 to 1979) was appointed as Lecturer in Surgery and Clinical Biochemistry in Aberdeen in 1979.

Douglas Thomson, from Ashton under Lyne, was appointed as Basic Grade Biochemist in 1976. He was appointed as Senior Biochemist in Leeds in 1983.

David JF Rowe, from London, was appointed in 1978 and moved to Southampton in 1982.

Shamus Caine, who had been appointed in the 1970s, was appointed as Senior Biochemist in the Department of Medicine in Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the late 1970s.

Alan G Rumley, from Newcastle upon Tyne (1973 to 1975) and Royal Infirmary, Glasgow (1975 to 1979), was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1979. He retired in 2011.

Alan R Pettigrew, from Royal Hospital for Sick children (1974 to 1980) was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1980. He moved to Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2005 to look after the Gastrointestinal Investigation Section following Andy Duncan's transfer to the Trace Elements Unit at Glasgow Royal. He retired in August 2009.

S Cathcart was at the Western/ Gartnavel when she joined the ACB in 1981 and J Henderson and MJ McIntosh in 1984.

Robert W Logan, Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant at the Glasgow Royal Hospital for Sick Children, had his remit extended to include administrative charge of the Department at the Western Infirmary/Gartnavel General Hospital from 1980 to 1984. During this time the biochemical services throughout the Western District of Glasgow were rationalised. (ref: 82)

JK McKee, from Blackpool and Exeter (1969 to 1976), was appointed as Consultant. She studied the use of plasma cortisol levels as an index of stress, having attended ward rounds with Dr D Mattingly, the physician in Exeter who published the method for the fluorimetric determination of plasma cortisol in 1962. McKee retired in 1984.

Michael J Hallworth, from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1982. He was appointed as Top Grade Biochemist in St Peters Hospital, Chertsey, in 1986 and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital 1989. He was Chair of the ACB from 2000 to 2003. He received the Healthcare Scientist of the Year Award for 2008 from NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh and became an Honorary Member of the ACB when he retired in 2014.

Richard J Spooner, who had moved from Sheffield to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary (1975 to 1983), was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1983, Top Grade and head of the scientific department when Roberts retired in 1994. Spooner retired in 2011 and was elected Emeritus Member of the ACB in 2012

Ian Percy-Robb, from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Professor (personal chair) and Head of Department in 1984. In the late 1990s he established the new syllabus for the Medical School based on Problem Based Learning, Special Study Modules, etc. and he retired in 2000 and died in 2014.

Marek H Dominiczak, from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Consultant in 1985. He retired in 2019.

David Shapiro, from Glasgow Royal Infirmary (1976 to 1987),was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1987.

Judith Finlayson, from Dundee, was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1984 and took up a post with Wellcome ca. 1988.

W Duncan Neithercut, who had been appointed in the mid 1980s as Senior Registrar, was appointed as Consultant in Arrowe Park Hospital, in the Wirral in 1989. He retired about 2017.

Eric S Kilpatrick was the winner of the 1991 John King Award and was appointed Senior Registrar in Manchester in 1995. He was appointed as consultant and head of department in Hull Royal Infirmary in 1998 and became Honorary Professor of Clinical Biochmietry at Hull York Medical School in 2006. He was president of the ACBfrom 2013 to 2015. He moved to Sidra Medicine in Doha, Qatar as Divisional Chief for Clinical Biochemistry in 2015. He became Professor of Patholgy and Laboratory MNedicine at Weill CornellMedicine, Cornell University, New York in.2016 - Sidra is the University Hospital for Weill Cornell in Qatar. His brother Stewart, who also worked in the department, died in 1999.

John KS Frater was appointed as Consultant in Hartlepool in 1995.

Catherine A Dorrian was the winner of the 1996 John King Award with a paper titled "Enzyme Immunoassays: Problems with antibody interference". She was appointed as a part-time Senior Biochemist at Hairmyres Hospital, Lanarkshire, in 2008 and as Top Grade at RHSC, Glasgow in 2010, taking up her appointment in 2011. She was in Inverness in 2019

Caroline Jagger was appointed as a Basic Grade in 1989 and Senior Grade in 1992. She was appointed as Principal Biochemist in Preston in 1998. and Top Grade in Lincoln in 2010. Her major interest was in molecular biology and she developed PCR techniques for haemochromatosis screening, cholinesterase genotyping, polymorphisms associated with asthma and lipoprotein polymorphisms.


Killearn Hospital was one of the seven new Emergency Medical Services Hospitals built at the start of World War II as a result of the Civil Defence Act. A neurosurgery unit with provision for neuropathology was established in 1942: it moved to the Glasgow Southern General in the early 1960s. (ref: 168, 181)

Maurice Jowett went from the Western Infirmary to Killearn Hospital ca. 1954 to establish the biochemistry service there. This was originally set up in a large room which was shared with the pathologist Margaret Leslie. Later, Jowett had his half of the building partitioned to give a large laboratory, a small laboratory and an instrument room. This provided well designed and pleasant working conditions. Jowett left for another appointment in the Prince of Wales General Hospital, London, in 1959. After a long and active retirement, he died in his 80s in 1987. (ref: 85,95)

In 1959, Barbara Mackenzie, from the Western Infirmary, took charge of the laboratory at Killearn Hospital and Anne Kelly took charge in the late 1960s. Colin Watts was a Basic Grade Biochemist there at that time. He completed a PhD before going to the Veterinary Hospital at Glasgow University in 1966 and to Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1971, Andrew Ralston was a Senior Technician and Arthur Mitchell was a Junior Technician. Jean Buchanan (later Cormack) also worked there. The workload was mainly CSF protein, sugar and glucose for the Neurosurgery Unit, salicylates for the Rheumatoid Arthritis wards and urine calcium for the long term Orthopaedics wards. Mackenzie left to get married in 1961.

Ian Pattie was appointed ca. 1970 at Killearn where he exercised his "green fingers". When Margaret Hartley, who had worked in the Duke Street Hospital laboratory in the 1950s, was appointed to Killearn Hospital ca. 1970, she found that the laboratory looked more like a conservatory than a laboratory. However, when Ian introduced buckets of soil with a view to growing tomatoes, the project was vetoed as the more senior staff were anxious concerning EB Hendry's reaction. (However, when the staff transferred to Gartnavel General Hospital, Ian was able to fulfil his horticultural aspirations and grew many crops of tomatoes and cucumbers on a suitably sunny windowsill.) (ref: 68)

Killearn Hospital was closed when Gartnavel General Hospital opened in the late 1960s. (ref: 85)

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Last updated December 2019