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The Ephemera of John Smith
by Adam McNaughton

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Sketch map of Glasgow divided into surgeons' districts, 1831

Hand-coloured lithographed map of Glasgow with a list of surgeons numbered and colour-coded for each district.

This map, presumably for the information of the town council, was drawn up in August 1831, before the formation of Glasgow's Board of Health which was prompted by an impending cholera epidemic. It shows the territories allocated to the official City Surgeons.

With the warning of cholera later that year, the job of city surgeon became more onerous. With assistance from seconded medical students they were expected to visit widely in their districts with a view to early detection of the disease.

The map shows clearly the extent of the city proper, the Royalty, in 1831, excluding Calton, Bridgeton and the wide extent of the Barony Parish. District no.1 includes much that would now be regarded as the Calton. The Board of Health took in all of those areas.


Regulations for Glasgow Royal Lunatic Asylum (detail)

Page 1 of a two-leaved document printed on three sides. Page 2 has a questionnaire about the patient; page 3 has the official letters to be completed by guardians and guarantors. Page 1 is headed by an engraving of the Asylum.

The Glasgow Lunatic Asylum, founded in 1814, received its royal charter in 1824. It was in the north of the city with access from Dobbie's Loan. It had an octagonal central building with four substantial wings radiating from it. Rarefied air was pumped from the basement to the upper apartments.

From the beginning patients were graduated by degree of illness and by ability to pay. Males and females of highest rank were housed in the Southwest and Southeast wings respectively. The most disturbed patients and paupers were divided, male and female, between the other two wings.

The Asylum was governed by a board drawn from the Council, Merchants' House, Trades' House, Churches, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and general subscribers. There were 12 official visitors who maintained a weekly check on the house.


Leaflet advertising the baths in Hutcheson Street, Glasgow, 1836

Single sheet text advertisement for hot, cold and vapour baths. The leaflet is frayed along the left edge from earlier binding.

John Lindsay, an established surgeon from Calton, moved to Hutcheson Street in 1836 to open up his bathing establishment. It is not surprising that he concentrates on the health benefits of bathing, rather than suggesting that his clients were in need of a wash.

The advertisement is careful not to mention that there was an existing bathing establishment in the city. James Harley had laid out Willowbank Baths in the mid-1820s in what was to become West Nile Street. From 1829 it was conducted by James Monteath, tavern and bath keeper.

Lindsay's advantage was that he could offer medicated baths. The charge of one shilling, or two, would be sufficient to deter the lower classes, without the belief that hot baths were debilitating.

Use the toolbar below to see more of Smith's ephemera, following the themed links

Introduction Transport Political Church Trade Entertainment Crime Education Medical CityAffairs


Text by Adam McNaughton and web editing by Julie Gardham September 2004

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