Sue Young Histories

The Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital

May 29, 2010

The first Glasgow Homeopathic Dispensary opened in 1849, and the second Glasgow Homeopathic Dispensary opened 10.3.1909.

The Homeopathic Houldsworth Hospital opened in 1914, and incorporated with the Glasgow Children’s Homeopathic Hospital in 1944, and both hospitals were renamed together as the Glasgow Homeopathic hospital in 1948,

The Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital operates today at 1053 Great Western Road, Glasgow,  G12 OXQ

1849 - the Glasgow Homeopathic Institution and Dispensary opened at 16 Bath Street, Physician John Thomson, Dispenser Matthew Thomson, John Thomson ?1801 - ?1870, MD Glasgow 1828, LRCS Edinburgh 1846, was a British orthodox physician, Surgeon to the 1st Royal Lanarkshire Militia, who converted to homeopathy, Physician at the Glasgow Homeopathic Dispensary. John Thomson practiced at 300 Bath Crescent, Glasgow, (Matthew Thomson was his Dispenser).

1866 - the Glasgow Homeopathic Dispensary moved to 280 George Street, Glasgow, (John Thomson and Matthew Thomson were still working at this establishment - this Dispensary may well have closed due to the death of John Thomson?),

1880 - The Glasgow Homeopathic Dispensary was founded by a small group of homeopathic physicians. This Dispensary was the main centre of homeopathy for the whole of Scotland for the first 30 years (Peter Morrell, A History of Homeopathy in Glasgow on line

1909 - the second Glasgow Homeopathic Dispensary opened 10.3.1909, financed by the Houldsworth family, Physicians: Robert Gibson Miller, Patrick, Thomas Thornton Macklin Dishington, Fairlea, Adam Lees, Chemist:  W H Huggins (Huggins and Co were the chemists for the Glasgow Homeopathic Dispensary, R B Huggins practiced in Edinburgh, and W H Huggins practiced in Glasgow),

John Houldsworth 1807 - 1859 was the son of a Nottingham cotton spinner who moved to Cranstonhill and worked in Kelvinbridge. John Houldsworth was educated in Glasgow, Geneva and Heidelberg. He entered the family business, and rose to become the head of spinning. The company expanded into iron, establishing the Anderston Foundry and Machine Works, later known as the Anderston Foundry Company.

The Houldsworth family were sponsors of homeopathy over an extended period, and listed as sponsors of homeopathy in the Homeopathic Medical Directory of the Great Britain and Ireland in 1871, in 1872, in 1873, so it is quite likely they were patients of John Thomson,

1914 - the Houldsworth Hospital was started at 5 Lynedoch Crescent, Glasgow, under the guidance of Robert Gibson Miller,

1920 - the house known as Oakpark, Mount Vernon, was gifted by Mr. and Mrs. William Fyfe, to a group of prominent Glasgow citizens to be utilised as a hospital for the treatment of non infectious diseases of children, with the stipulation that such treatment should be purely homeopathic.

1921 - The new Children’s Hospital at Oakpark, Mount Vernon was opened in 1921 by Thomas Thornton Macklin Dishington, Patrick, Fairlea and Adam Lees. Lady Blythswood, in the unavoidable absence of HRH Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, formally opened the Glasgow Children’s Homeopathic hospital on October 5, 1921.

1929 - an out patient block was built adjacent to the main building of the Glasgow Children’s Homeopathic Hospital,

1931 - the hospital moved to 1000 Great Western Road, Glasgow, and the premises at Lynedoch Crescent became the Out patient Dispensary, Charles Cospatrick Archibald Douglas Home 13th Earl of Home was invited to be Honorary President of the Scottish Lay Homeopathic Association; and he also opened the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital in Autumn 1931,

1932 - *From the 1930’s onwards, lay homeopathy found its feet in Glasgow, thanks to the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital - see below:

1934 - the British Homeopathic Congress was held at the hospital,

1936 - Thomas Thornton Macklin Dishington Physician at the hospital died,

1936 - an extension to the back wing of the Glasgow Children’s Homeopathic Hospital was built,

1944 - the Board of Management of the hospital amalgamated the Glasgow Children’s Homeopathic Hospital and the Houldsworth Hospital,

1946 - Howard Henderson Patrick retired from the hospital after 37 years,

1948 – the hospital complex becomes incorporated into the NHS, and is now known as the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital,

1950 - John and Elizabeth Paterson worked at the hospital,

1953 - The Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital published: What Homeopathy is Doing in the NHS In Scotland (1953)

1955 - William Ernest Boyd Radiologist and assistant physician at the hospital died,

1971  - The Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital published: Children’s Homeopathic Hospital Jubilee 1921-1971,

1972 - T Fergus Stewart (who was on the Board of Management of the hospital) and his wife Elizabeth Somerville Stewart both died in the Staines plane crash, as did Elizabeth Hawthorn, Matron at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital,

1972 - an outpatient branch of the Glasgow Children’s Homeopathic Hospital is still operating at 221 Hamilton Road, Glasgow,

1977 - the Glasgow Children’s Homeopathic Hospital was closed,

1987 - the out patients dispensary at Lynedoch Crescent was moved to within the hospital at 1000 Great Western Road,

1990 - Hamish William Boyd Consulting Physician at the hospital retired,

1992 - Robin Gordon Gibson, Consulting Physician at the Hospital died, his wife Sheila Marjorie Lillian Gibson is now in private practice,

1999 - the hospital moved to new purpose built premises in the grounds of nearby Gartnavel General Hospital,

2005 - Erich Kurt Ledermann House Physician at the hospital died,

Current staff at the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital include, Robert Leckridge, David Reilly, Thomas E Whitmarsh,

Of interest:

*From the 1930’s onwards, lay homeopathy found its feet in Glasgow, thanks to the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital.

The following is with grateful thanks to Peter Morrell:

There was a big revival of homeopathy throughout Scotland [and the rest of the UK] in the 1930s.

This revival was spearheaded mainly by lay practitioners, and they formed the Glasgow Lay Homeopathic Society in 1932. Letters about their activities appeared in Heal Thyself throughout the 1930s.

Scottish Homeopathic and  Biochemical Supplies was located at 203 Buchanan St, Glasgow, William Boyd Mitchell, Superintendent (Pharmacist), registered Feb 15 1937 (Register of Chemists & Druggists, 1952, p.476) Scottish Homeopathic Supplies, 1937-c.1968.

“John Pert worked for them at first, I believe.” (Brown, 1990) Homeopathic Supply Co. adverts in Heal Thyself 1950, 1952-3 Robert Lind, c.1890-c.1970, BSc, lay practitioner, worked with Scottish Homeopathic Supplies (Glasgow) Glasgow{::}Lay Homeopathic Society, Heal Thyself 1932 letter, also called Scottish Lay Homeopathic Association.

Charles Cospatrick Archibald Douglas Home 13th Earl of Home, was invited to be Honorary President of the Scottish Lay Homeopathic Association; and he also opened the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital in Autumn 1931, Heal Thyself 1932

Mr J Flint, c.1890 - c.1970, Glasgow, founder member and first Vice President of the Glasgow Lay Homoeopathic Association, letter in Heal Thyself 1932

Mr H A Kerr, c.1900 - 1980?, Kings Park, Cathcart, Glasgow, founder member of the Glasgow Lay Homeopathic Association, the first such lay homeopathic society in Britain, to be called the Scottish Lay Homeopathic Association, 1932 Heal Thyself

Bailie Ninian Macwhannell, c.1880- c.1960, Glasgow, Senior Magistrate in Glasgow, Chairman and Founder of the Glasgow Lay Homeopathic Society 1932 and “…with an interest in homeopathy extending over 30 years.” [Letter in Heal Thyself, 1932]

Hunter Beattie, c.1880-c.1960, Scotland:  ‘A lay homeopath and herbalist, populariser of soaps and perfumes, herbal toiletries salesman, HBT was the popular trade-name for Hunter Beattie Toiletries into the 1940s. He was a homeopath of sorts and supported lay homeopathy in general.’ [Pert, 1991]

Mr E Mortimer Brody, c.1890-c.1970, Glasgow, first Vice-President of the newly formed Glasgow Lay Homeopathic Association, Heal Thyself, letter 1932

Carl Plumacher, c.1890-c.1960, Glasgow, lay practitioner (John Pert, 1991) fl.1930s

Alec Runcie, fl.1930s, Scotland, lay homeopath, formerly a miner, his son Dr Alex Runcie ‘now lives in Canada.’ (John Pert, 1991)

Dr James Runcie (Tain){::}c.1914 - 5.5.1990, 9 Park Avenue, Dunfermline, Fife [Med Dir. 1941, 1948, p.599], MB ChB Edin. 1937, MFHom 1946; “Now lives 17 Provost, Fergus Drive, Tain, Highlands (Med. Reg. 1988) the son of old man Alec Runcie, also has a brother called Alec.” [Pert, 1991]

Jack Short, c.1890 -c.1950, Glasgow, lay homeopath, predominantly used olfaction (a la last para Organon) using 2.5ml bottle containing remedy and a cork. “Few people knew about olfaction - inhaling deeply the remedy bottle rather than placing it on the tongue. Doctors criticised it as a nonsense.

William Ernest Boyd hammered that type of criticism saying it was invalid unless you had experience of the technique. Like all lay homeopaths in Glasgow at that time, Jack Short was in a group called Glasgow Homeopathy Supplies which was a shop used as a base for consultations, usually 5/- [5 shillings; 25 pence; a quarter of £1] per appointment.” [Pert, 1991]

Mr J M Mackenzie, c.1890 -c.1970, Warren Road, Knightswood, Glasgow, founder member and first Hon. Secretary and Treasurer of the Glasgow Lay Homeopathy Association letter in Heal Thyself, 1932

Major C Frazer Mackenzie, c.1880-c.1960, lay practitioner and writer on homeopathy throughout the 1930s and 40s.

Ephraim Connor, was a lay homeopath based in Motherwell and later in the Scottish Highlands. A self-taught lay homeopath in Motherwell and Glasgow:  ‘Wrote a book about dogs, ended up as a publican at the bottom end of the Caledonian Canal and a queer old stick.’ [Geoffrey Brown, 1991]

Francis Treuherz went to see Ephraim Connor’s widow in 1985 and compiled an article about him [Ephraim Connor, Francis Treuherz, 1986 in The Homeopath]. Ephraim Connor appears to have been a strange figure, who kept a big house near Motherwell with a huge stock of old remedies from all the main manufacturers. He also kept a large collection of guns. Little is known of how his original contact with homeopathy came about, for example, or if he was taught by any doctors in Glasgow.

Douglas Craig c.1901 - c.1995 Douglas Craig lived at 15 Shamrock Street in Dundee [in 1990] and was a homeopath and naturopath for many years, training and practising for most of his working life mainly in Canada, returning to Scotland in old age.

Mr John Pert, c.1912-c.1995, Glasgow born, later lived in Cheam, Surrey; MPS, MFAO, Chief Pharmacist at Nelson’s [fashionable homeopathic pharmacy in Duke Street, London]; originally with Glasgow Homeopathic Supplies, very knowledgeable about the history of UK homeopathy and especially the lay scene in the 1930-60 period.

Dr George Lithgow Wilson, c.1900 - 1961, MB ChB Glas 1924, MFHom, 6 Belgrave Terrace Glasgow

Dr. Tom Robertson, c.1900-1961, 28 Crow Road, Glasgow, BSc 1921 MB ChB Glas [commendation] 1923 MFHom 1944; Physician Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital

Dr Thomas Douglas Ross, 1902-1964, 3 Newton Place, Glasgow C3, MB ChB Glas 1923, MRPSG, Dispensing Physician, Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital, FBHS, Member Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow, President of the Faculty 1962-4, Golfer, Musician and Writer.

Dr Agnes Moncrieff, c.1902-1948, born Scotland, MB ChB Glas 1926, FFHom 1943, lived Hendon, London, Honorary Physician Diseases of Children, London Homeopathic Hospital,

Donald MacDonald Foubister, lived latterly mostly Hertfordshire; entered Medical Register Jul 1936; BSc 1924 Aberdeen, MB ChB Edin., 1936, FFHom 1948, DCH Eng 1947.

Dr Andrew Christie Gordon Ross, 1904 - Aug1982, 3 Newton Place, Glasgow. Brother of Dr Thomas Ross; MB ChB St Andrews 1940 (Med. Dir. 1941), lived St Andrews in later life, 15 Sandyford Place, Glasgow C3, MFHom (Med. Dir. 1957); keen playwright and golfer.

Elizabeth McV J Paterson, (Nee Currie), 1907 - 1963, 12 Royal Terrace Glasgow, C3, MB ChB Glas 1921, DPH Glas & Ed 1924, MFHom 1943, Physician at Glasgow Children’s Hospital, Mt Vernon and Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital (Med. Dir. 1948). Trained Glasgow, wife of Dr John Paterson, research bacteriologist, worked with him on the Bowel Nosodes, worked with Thomas Thornton Macklin Dishington and Charles Edwin Wheeler, influenced by Edward Bach.

Dr William Lang, c.1910-, Glasgow, MB ChB Glas, DObst RCOG, MFHom, 41 Langlands Drive Glasgow, G43 2QQ, on Faculty list since 1955 (John Pert, 1992)

Dr. Mabel Simpson Ainslie, c.1910, 17 Kensington Gate, Glasgow and 10 Grosvenor Terrace; MB ChB Glas 1933, Disp Phys &  Asst Phys Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital [Med Dir, 1957, p.17]. Dr Ainslie retired in 1981.

Dr. Hector MacNeill, c.1910-1999, 6 Belgrave Terrace, Hillhead, Glasgow, MB ChB Glas 1932, MFHom 1947; Physician, Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital; MRPSG; Children’s Dept. GHH [Med Dir, 1957]. Dr MacNeill was brother of Dr Alastair MacNeill.

Dr Thomas Fergus Stewart, c1913-c.1980, Monklands, Bearsden, Glasgow, MB ChB Glasgow 1936, Physician at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital,

George Macleod, Scottish born and trained, associated with Donald MacDonald Foubister, Thomas Lackenby Maughan, John DaMonte; leading homeopathic veterinarian. Enormously influential and an inspiring teacher of homeopathy,

Dr James Connor, c.1921- , Glasgow, Son of Ephraim Connor, LRCP LRCS Edin. LRFPS Glas 1943, 14 Belmont Cres, Glasgow (Med. Dir. 1948) “Now living in Canada.” (Brown and Pert). Not in 1988 Med. Reg. ‘He is now living in London, Ontario, Canada.’ [Dr Jim Connor, 1995, son who is a medical historian at University of Toronto, in an email to P Morrell]

Dr. Alastair Duncan MacNeill, c.1921, MB ChB Glas 1944; Physician, Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital [Med Dir 1957, p.1415]. Dr MacNeill is now in retirement.

Hamish William Boyd, Glasgow, MB ChB Glas 1947, FRFPS, Glas 1953, FRCP Glas 1977, MRCP Glas 1962, Fellow Royal Society of Medicine, Consulting Physician at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital; qualified 1947, Glasgow; DCH Engl 1951, MFHom 1952, FFHom 1957; son of William Ernest Boyd, (Med. Dir. 1987), President of the Faculty 1979; retired 1990,

John Robertson Raeside, Glasgow trained; Crenelle, Hillhead Rd, Bieldside, Aberdeenshire, MB ChB Glas 1949 (Med. Dir. 1957). Provings researcher who died in the Staines aircrash, June 1972, along with his wife and 11 other homeopaths; asst to Marjorie Grace Blackie, prover and researcher.

Ian Alexander Boyd,  trained Glasgow, son of William Ernest Boyd, ent. Med. Reg. July 1950; Professor Of Physiology, Glasgow University. Many publications in Neurophysiology.

Robin Gordon Gibson, Glasgow, and wife Sheila Lilian Marjorie Gibson, ent Med. Reg. Aug 1960, MB ChB 1960, FFHom 1969, LMSSA London 1960, FRCPS Glas 1962, FRCP Glas 1982, DCH, consulting physician at Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital; retired from GHH in 1992.

Sheila Lilian Marjorie Gibson, Glasgow, husband Robin Gordon Gibson, ent Med. Reg. July 1962, BSc 1959, MB ChB 1962, MD 1969; Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital.

David Paul Taylor Reilly, c.1955, MB ChB Glas 1978, MFHom 1983, MRCP Glas 1981, MRCGP 1987, Glasgow trained, numerous articles in BHJ, BMJ, 1983, _The Lancet_1986, ent Med. Reg. Jul 1978; FRCP Glas. Lead Consultant Physician Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital 1990

29.11.11 The Inside Story of the Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital:

Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital is much loved. It’s been part of the West of Scotland’s health care for over a 100 years, and from the inception of the National Health Service, “the homeopathic” was taken into State ownership and management.

Uniquely in Scotland, it integrated a range of therapeutic approaches long before the terms “integrative” and “integrated” care became popular. For example, the hospital in 1000 Great Western Road had an operating theatre and the surgeons and homeopathic physicians worked together in the interests of their patients.

Money donated by the Scottish Public as far back as the 1930s was used to build the new premises in the grounds of Gartnavel Hospital which opened at the end of 1999 with signage on the front wall “Centre for Integrative Care. Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital”.

It’s a long time since “the homeopathic” employed surgeons, and the emphasis these days is on “integrative care” - holistic, patient-centred, non-pharmacological and non-surgical interventions intended to increase resilience, well-being and coherence through empowering and enabling patients. Homeopathy both informs, and fits easily into this broad approach.

In recent months an aggressive campaign of misinformation and insult against homeopathy in general, and the NHS Homeopathic Hospitals in particular. There’s no doubt this has produced deep distress in patients and staff alike. In addition, the economic situation has created a hugely challenging time for the whole of the NHS, and doctors’ training and career pathways plus the Agenda for Change have produced enormous changes for NHS health care workers. Despite this almost perfect storm of pressures, the staff working with their NHS managers, have embraced change and engaged in a root and branch redesign of the service.

As we move into 2012, here is an inside end of year report.

The service will now be known as “The NHS Centre for Integrative Care. Glasgow Homeopathic Hospital” to better communicate the fact that this NHS facility offers a range of therapies and interventions all intended to be integrative in their effects and integrated within care pathways. The service has been redesigned to address the Scottish government’s Long Term Conditions agenda to best improve the care of patients with chronic illnesses.

We have reduced the number of inpatient beds, cut back from 7 day to Monday to Friday care, and developed a number of programmes for outpatients and day patients in groups and on a one to one basis, all with the intention of empowering patients and enabling them to learn ways to increase their energy levels, reduce their levels of pain, improve their well-being and reduce their needs for both pharmacological medicines and admissions to other hospitals.

The number of referrals to the hospital have remained steady throughout the whole of 2011. There has been no decline in demand. The Scottish NHS is not structured the same way as the English and Welsh services, most notably with the central role of unitary Health Boards in Scotland which agree annual block contracts for referrals between themselves. There are no commissioners. Highland Health Board has decided it does not wish to pay for homeopathic medicines, but continues to support the referral of patients from their area to the NHS Centre for Integrative Care for holistic, integrative assessments and care programmes.

The Chronic Fatigue Service in the hospital was commissioned by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and is the only specialist NHS service for patients with this condition in the health board area.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde at all levels of management have repeatedly stated clearly that there are no plans to close the NHS Centre for Integrative Care.

Two particular changes have been spun adversely by enemies of the hospital - the removal of a junior doctor post, and the closure of the hospital pharmacy.

The shift in emphasis towards greater outpatient care, with the parallel reduction in inpatient care, means that two “ward doctors” are not required. Historically, the ward doctor posts were filled by doctors nearing the end of their specialist training, but with “Modernising Medical Careers”, one of these posts was changed to a “Foundation Year” one - doctors in their earliest years of training. These doctors rotated through the hospital on 4 month programmes, where the previous doctors had 12 to 18 month contracts. They were also included in the Acute Medicine rota which resulted in their frequent time off from daily ward work to compensate for their out of hours work. This all led to a higher demand on the other staff and at our request, the Postgraduate Dean withdrew the position, agreeing that it was not an appropriate post for a service specialising in the needs of patients with complex, chronic conditions. He had nothing but praise for the quality of training in consultation technique, communication skills and holistic assessment of those with chronic ailments which these young doctors received during their brief rotation with us.

Closing the pharmacy was a difficult decision, but it has normalised the relationship between this secondary care service and GPs. All other hospital specialists recommend treatments but don’t issue the prescriptions. It has also enabled us to contribute to the targeted budget savings required across the NHS without losing further posts (over 90% of the hospital’s budget is spent on people - staff salaries and costs)

We are currently working hard to build a secure future for this unique NHS service which serves the needs of patients largely with incurable conditions. It is hard to see where these particular patients would receive greater benefits at less costs within the NHS.


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