Sunday, January 19, 2014

University Department of Steroid Biochemistry, Glasgow Royal Infirmary

These underground public toilets, the Tardis, and the phone box (with missing glass panel) stand opposite the north end of Glasgow Royal Infirmary on Castle Street, sometime in the early 1970s. Not the best of photographs, I admit. But it introduces the second of my 'nostalgia' posts for 2014. On the very right of the photo you can see a crane being used in the construction of the 'new' Queen Elizabeth buildings, opened in the 1980s.

The archway was the access to the Outpatients Department all these years ago. The converted old shops to the right of the arch housed the University Department of Steroid Biochemistry, and behind that facade I spent part of my final year as an undergraduate at Glasgow University, and three years studying for my PhD.

I recall that the Radiography Department occupied the second floor, and that there were patient wards above.

There are lots of great photos of the area in the 1970s here.

I suspect that many staff and students from the hospital will remember a local pub called the Manx Bar, on Glebe Street! High class this - it had a 'Ladies Room', unlike some other watering holes in the area. By the time this photo was taken, the tenements above the bar had been demolished, see earlier photos here. I haven't been able to find any images of the Three Ones (the 111 pub at that address on Castle Street), men only, and directly across from the lab, or the Trossachs on Parson Street, which served a mean meat pie and beans at lunchtimes.

Spot the young student in this photo taken inside the 'Steroid Lab' from 1969, with many of my colleagues who helped me find my way around the world of steroid biochemistry. (Steroids are molecules with chicken wire structures, see here, which were to dominate much of my scientific life in the following years. How was I attracted to such things? Well, it's a long story .... But perhaps for another day!)

So what was the title of my PhD thesis? 'Biochemical and Morphological Studies of Adrenocortical Mitochondria' occupied me for three years, with the late Dr Jim Grant as my supervisor. The image is an electron micrograph of a bovine adrenocortical cell. I haven't thought about these times for many years. Looking back, there are a lot of happy memories.

This is me after three years as a PhD student - a passport photo taken in 1972. No photo booths then. This was professionally taken by the Scottish Press Agency.

I was rather fond of that tweed jacket!

See if 'musical nostalgia' works for you, here.

Images © Skip Cottage

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