John Macintyre (1857-1928) established the first radiology unit in the world at GRI, establishing in 1902 a unit built specifically for the purpose. The x-rays he was able to produce of numerous parts of the body, were of significant help to doctors and surgeons in diagnosis and treatment.

Macintyre had begun life training as an electrician, but switched to medicine and graduated MB, CB from Glasgow University in 1882. He worked as a ship’s surgeon in London and in Europe before returning to Glasgow as Surgeon for Diseases of the Throat at Anderson’s College Dispensary. At this time he also established a private practice treating actors and singers,   which became quite lucrative.

In 1885, spurred by his early knowledge of electricity and a conviction that electricity had potential uses in medicine, he became Consulting Medical Electrician to GRI. in 1887 he set up a department for the use of electricity in medicine and it was from this that he developed, with the assistance of Archibald Fauld and an engineer called William Bottomley, the first radiology unit in the world.

He was awarded an LLD in 1920. Watch this short video about Macintyre and X rays at GRI here

The first X-ray department in the world was located at GRI. Photograph courtesy of NHSGGC Medical Illustration Services