Lanarkshire - The First Laboratories


Law Junction E.M.S. Hospital was one of the seven new Emergency Medical Services Hospitals built in 1939/40 at the start of World War II as a result of the Civil Defence Act. Although some (Ballochmyle, Peel and Stracathro) were built in the grounds of large estates, Law was built on moorland - a site probably chosen for road and rail access and being remote from industrial areas which might be bombed. A German air photograph from the time was found post war which shows that the hospital resembles a barracks and was in fact a potential target. (ref: 168)

In 1939, Arthur Mollison was appointed as the Chief Pharmacist. In addition to his pharmaceutical duties, he was responsible for supervising the performance of the routine biochemical analyses. He left in 1945 to study medicine at Glasgow University.

Mollison had graduated BSc in Pharmacy in Glasgow in 1936. He had been an Assistant Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Robert Gordon's Technical College in Aberdeen (1938 to 39). He graduated in Medicine at Glasgow University in 1950. In 1963, he was appointed as the first Consultant Biochemist to the Renfrewshire Hospitals (Greenock and Paisley) and he retired from Hawkhead Hospital, Paisley ca. 1981. He died in 1987. (ref: 79)

After the war, in 1946, the hospital was made available as a public general hospital. The Intensive Care Unit, opened in 1959, was one of the first to be opened in a Scottish District General Hospital.

In 1948, JB Pettigrew, who was a resident at Law Hospital and who had graduated with a 1st class honours BSc in Biochemistry in 1933 prior to taking his medical degree, was asked to take charge of the total laboratory. He was said to be the first Consultant Biochemist to be appointed to a Scottish Non-Teaching Hospital. During the 1960s, he was also the Medical Superintendent. He retired in 1976 and died in 1992.

Alex McDowall was appointed as Pettigrew's first assistant. In the early 1950s, all laboratory disciplines were in the same room - now part of the main biochemistry department. The staff in biochemistry were Pettigrew, Barbara McAllister (biochemist), Joyce Watson, Sadie Pringle (who died in a car crash in Rhodesia) and William Hunter. Hunter was appointed as a student technician in 1953 and, apart from a period in the Army Medical Corps (1957 to 1959) for National Service, he remained there until he was appointed as Senior Chief MLSO at Monklands Hospital in 1976. Robert McAndrew, later Consultant at Bellshill Hospital, Lanarkshire, was the Registrar and William Barr and Joseph Blair were the technical staff in Pathology. Eleanor Boyle was in Haematology and Robert Stewart was in Bacteriology. McAndrew went to the Royal Infirmary in 1954 and later was appointed as Consultant at Bellshill Maternity Hospital. McAndrew was succeeded by Thomas W Lees from the Royal College of Physicians Laboratory in Edinburgh. Lees had published a book on "The Treatment and Classification of Cancer" (Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh, 1952) questioning the links between smoking and cancer. Lees took up a new appointment (in Dundee) in 1954.

The number of staff and the accommodation was significantly increased in the mid-1950s at the same time as the West of Scotland Blood Transfusion Service was transferred to Law Hospital. These developments were promoted by Civil Defence considerations due to the "Cold War". (It was considered that an atomic bomb dropped on George Square, Glasgow, would have a 20 mile blast zone and Law Hospital was outside this zone. Within a decade, Ravenscraig Steel Works had been built within a few miles of the newly located Blood Transfusion Centre).

In 1954 Ian Shaw Dunn (son of J Shaw Dunn, who had been appointed Professor of Pathology at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 1930) was appointed as Consultant Pathologist and Ronald Benzie was appointed as Chief Technician. Benzie was the multidisciplinary Senior Chief MLSO when he retired due to ill health in 1976 (having had a cardiac arrest in the laboratory). William Gardner was appointed in 1954 and left in the early 1960s to take technical charge of the laboratory at Bellshill Hospital, Lanarkshire. (ref: 42)

Joyce Munro succeeded McAllister as biochemist in 1955. She took charge of the department in the 1960s when Pettigrew was Medical Superintendent. She was a Principal Biochemist for many years before her retiral in 1987.

Winifred Russell was in the ACB members list in 1959.

James Smart was appointed to a newly created post in 1962 and retired in 2002.

Norman Dalziel was appointed in 1964. He died in 1974.

Peter Timms was appointed as a Basic Grade Biochemist in 1972 and, later, as a Senior Biochemist. He took up an appointment in Saudi Arabia in 1983 and in Stobhill General Hospital, Glasgow when he returned to the U.K. in 1993.

In 1976, Edward A Mills, from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, succeeded JB Pettigrew as Consultant Biochemist. He died in office in 1985.

In 1979, J Eric Carlyle, from Glasgow Gartnavel General Hospital, was appointed as Top Grade Biochemist. He retired in 2010 and he was elected as an Emeritus Member of the ACB in 2011. He was Chair of the Scottish Region from 1990 to 1993, Regional Representative on Council from 1996 to 1998 and a member of the Scientific Committee from 1984 to1986 and from 1996 to 1998. He died in 2021.

Manjit S Devgun was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 1983. He had been a Post-graduate Assistant (1976 to 1979), Post-doctoral Assistant (1979 to 1980) and Basic Grade Biochemist (1980 to 1983) in Dundee.

In 1985, David Boag, from Glasgow Royal Infirmary, was appointed as Consultant Biochemist. He was appointed as Consultant at Crosshouse Hospital in Ayrshire in 1986.

In 1987, Ian Gunn, from Dundee via Leeds (1984 to 1987), was appointed as Consultant Biochemist. He retired in 2016 and worked part-time until 2020. He was elected as a Fellow of the ACB in 2018.

Richard Evans, from Hairmyres Hospital, Lanarkshire, was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 1987 and retired in 2008.

The hospital moved to Wishaw General, a Private Finance Initiative Hospital, in 2001.

Ian Godber, Grade A Trainee in Dundee, 1997 - 2000, Senior Biochemist at Nottingham City Hospital, 2000 - 2002, was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 2002 and Top Grade at Monklands in 2008.

Louise Todd (daughter of Alastair Todd who was appointed to the Fife Area Laboratory in 1974) was appointed as Grade A Trainee in 2002, Senior Biochemist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2005 and Senior Biochemist at Monklands Hospital in 2011.

Dr Roy W A Peake was appointed as Grade A Trainee in 2005 and as Senior Biochemist in Aberdeen in 2008.

Jackie McGuire (nee Herdman) from Hairmyres was appointed as Top Grade in 2008.

Sarah Jarvis (who became Mrs Cleary in 2013), who had been appointed as a Grade A Trainee in 2003 in Glasgow and a Senior Biochemist in North Glasgow from 2005, was appointed as Principal Biochemist in 2008 and Consulant in 2014.

Kathryn Sellar, Grade A trainee from St Georges, Tooting, was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 2008. She became Mrs Kirkpatrick in 2012 and was appointed as Principal Biochemist at the Royal Alexandra Infirmary, Paisley, in 2013. She was appointed as Principal Biochemist at Hairmyres Hospital in 2016.

Gemma Gallacher (later O'Reilly) was appointed as Senior Biochemist in 2013. She had been appointed as a Grade A trainee in Sep 2009 based at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, graduated PhD from the University of Strathclyde in July 2010 and moved into the new Laboratory Medicine Building on the Southern General site in June 2012. She was appointed as Principal Biochemist at Hairmyres Hospital in 2014 and at Monklands Hospital in 2016.

Laura Willox, who took part in the Monklands Nextgen work experience programme in 2001, did her ST5 section of the Biochemistry and Metabolic Medicine training programme for 6 months in 2013.

Dr Alison Fairservice, Grade A trainee from Derby Royal, was appointed to a Senior Biochemist post in 2013. While she was writing up her PhD in 2007, she visited the department at Monklands Hospital on the day the department had been given permission to employ part-time temporary MLA staff. Instead of simply being shown round the department, she was appointed to one of these posts. She was appointed as Principal Biochemist at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2017.

Laura McNeil was a member of staff in 2019.

Lanarkshire - Hairmyres Hospital

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Last updated June 2021