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The Royal Samaritan Hospital for Women


The Royal Samaritan Hospital for Women (known as Glasgow Samaritan Hospital for Women from 1886 – 1907) was established in 1886. It was based at 67 South Cumberland Street (1886 – 1890), and then Kingston House, St James’ Street (1890 – 1896), before moving to 67-69 Coplaw Street in Govanhill. The Coplaw Street building you see today was designed by the architects Ninian McWhannell and John Rogerson.


The main building is made of white rock-faced sandstone, with red dressings, and some Art Nouveau details on administration block. The design was in a 17th century Scottish Renaissance style, with a dispensary added in 1897, and two new wards built in 1905 and 1924. The building with round towers in the foreground, on the corner of Victoria Road, was the Alice Mary Corbett Memorial Nurses’ Home. It was financed by Mrs Cameron Corbett of Rowallan and was built in 1904 and subsequently extended.


The hospital had 30 beds in 1896 and 83 by 1907. A second new wing increased this to 156 in 1927. A 30 bed annexe for paying patients was added in 1936. The Lancet reported that in 1928, 2,033 patients were treated and 1836 were operated on. When the hospital joined the NHS Service in 1948 it was placed under the Glasgow Maternity and Women’s Hospitals Board of Management. In 1974 it was placed in the South Eastern District of the Greater Glasgow Health Board.


Recollections from the Hospital


You can read one patients recollections ‘On the closure of Glasgow Samaritan Hospital for Women 1890-1991’ (2013) here. She recalls carers wearing daffodil insignias and cardboard hats. She says:

‘Wards like these provided solace and strength where women could heal and recover alongside other women’

Glasgow Royal Samaritan Hospital for Women closed in October 1991. She adds that:

‘Its closure was counter-intuitive as its approach to women’s health remains ahead of its time’.

In 1992 the premises were briefly re-opened as an orthopaedic and general surgery unit managed by the Victoria Infirmary. In 2002, the buildings were all converted into housing association dwellings, where people still live today.


Contribute to Our Archive of the Southside


If you have memories or any artefacts from the building when it was still in use as a hospital, please get in touch with us: info@sghet.com. We are seeking memories, local knowledge, donations and photocopies of material relating to the Southside for our archive of South Glasgow!



Anon. (1909) ‘The Alice Mary Corbett Memorial Nurses Home (The Royal Glasgow Samaritan Hospital for Women)’, Acad Architect, 1, 1909. London.

Archives Hub


National Archives: Hospital Records

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Archives

‘On the closure of Glasgow Samaritan Hospital for Women 1890-1991’

The Glasgow Story

The Lancet (Dec 7 1929), p. 1238.

Sam Small. Greater Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide (Rutland Press, 2008).

Williamson et al. Glasgow, The buildings of Scotland series (London, 1990).



6 replies added

  1. Marie McEnroe June 18, 2019 Reply

    My mother was a patient in this hospital from 1982/83 the staff were wonderful we got to know them all as my mother was an inpatient for about a year when n she sadly passed away at the very young age of 38

  2. Ruby Henderson June 18, 2019 Reply

    Thank you for these pictures. I owe my life to the expertise of of the doctors at the Royal Samaritan Hospital ! I was sad to see it’s decline. So good to know so many photographs still exist .

  3. Sarah Smith August 17, 2020 Reply

    Some 40 years ago, I was there for a whole week for a small procedure. The staff were fantastic and wonderful to the patients, even extending the stay of an elderly lady so that she could have a longer rest! The food standard was that of a first class hotel and I had a lovely time.

  4. Anon March 26, 2021 Reply

    I remember having to take my sister there she was the ‘good’ one I was 17 she was 18 she told my mum the baby had stopped growing when she was really going for an abortion never forget my mum saying she expected that of me not her I had to come home from work in a Hackney cab pick her up and after leaving her at that place make my own way home,I was so distraught leaving my sister there ,by the time I got there my dad was home and mum had told him I was then sent to follow him and I did and he went and punched my sisters dads boyfriend in the face and that was that in Glasgow 1987 but I’ll never forget

  5. Malcolm December 28, 2021 Reply

    I was a junior doctor in Victoria infirmary in 1994, we were placed in the Sam for 1-2 weeks to look after step down care patients. At the time they used the old theatre to film scenes for Taggart. Great memories of the place.

  6. Anon May 9, 2023 Reply

    My mum worked here in the days when nurses wore old style cardboard hats and pinafores. I can still remember the smell of antiseptic on the wards. Had no idea what type of hospital this was until I was much older. Very sad for some of the patients who must have crossed their doors with horrific situations.

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