FIVE FACTS ABOUT ... Beatrice Clugston
Every week we’ll highlight famous Glaswegians
Beatrice, who was born in the Calton, was the daughter of a wealthy Glasgow businessman, the treasurer for a local bank. She may have been well off, but cared deeply about the health and wellbeing of poorer patients in the city’s hospitals.
In 1863, she founded the Dorcas Society of Glasgow Royal Infirmary (The name comes from the New Testament story of dressmaker Tabatha or Dorcas, who had made garments for the widows of Joppa). The organisation provided warm clothing for impoverished patients and organised visitors for those who had none. It also provided patients with small amounts of money once they had been discharged, helping them to buy clothes and food.
She was a fundraising supremo. At one bazaar she organised at the Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens, she raised the incredible total of £24,000 – a huge sum in those days. She was a big supporter of other charity projects in Glasgow, including the Magdalene Institution in Maryhill, the Samaritan Society of the Western Infirmary and the Sick Children’s Hospital.
Beatrice also visited inmates in prisons, and raised funds to establish the Glasgow Convalescent
Home in Bothwell, the first institution of its kind in the west of Scotland. She went on to found a second home in Dunoon, which was at the time the biggest in the country; and set up the Broomhill Homes For Incurables in Kirkintilloch in 1876.
Beatrice died in 1888 but the Dorcas Society lives on at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where it also runs Mabel’s tearoom. The project also supports a range of initiatives at the hospital, including the chaplaincy, the medical social work team and a clothing room, which provides new clothes, shoes, toiletries and other essentials for patients who do not have access to these items.
At one bazaar she raised the incredible total of £24,000