The Glasgow Eye Infirmary was founded in 1824 by Dr G. C. Montieth and Dr William Mackenzie, a respected ophthalmologist and Fellow of this College.
The infirmary was originally located on Inkle Factory Lane near Glasgow Cross. In 1874 it moved into purpose built accommodation on Berkley Street in the West End of Glasgow and, by the late 1880s, had over 100 beds. Money for the infirmary was raised by subscriptions, endowments of beds, and fund raising activities.
In 1971 the entire in-patient accommodation at Berkeley Street was destroyed by fire. As a result, extra beds were allocated at the newly built Gartnavel Hospital. Gartnavel became the permanent base for the eye infirmary in 1998.
The Glasgow Eye Infirmary had the very special help of Sankel, a retriever dog. Sankel was owned by Messrs J. and A. Caldwell, glaziers in Charlotte Street, Glasgow and the money was collected by Sankel from visitors entering the workshop. People were so impressed by Sankel’s fundraising ability that in 1883 ‘a few friends’ clubbed together to buy Sankel a special dog collar ‘for his clever performance and likewise contribution’. Sankel appears to have been a very intelligent dog – not only did he raise money but his owners used to send him with messages to neighbouring shops, from whence he apparently returned promptly and with the correct change.
Sankel’s dog collar is now one of the more unusual items in the College’s museum collection. It, along with brass plaques for endowed beds and a fundraising poster show how the Glasgow Eye Infirmary was able to raise funds.