THIS week the Evening Times has taken an in-depth look at Glasgow vet school as it marks its 150th anniversary. Today CATRIONA STEWART finds out about the history of the veterinary college
FROM humble beginnings Glasgow vet school has grown to one of the world's most respected veterinary institutions.
And it has trained vets who now work all around the world – including the famous vet Alf White, who found fame as author James Herriot, sportsman Euan Murray and even an African president.
But the development of the Bearsden-based school has not always gone smoothly.
Peter Holmes, an Emeritus Professor at the school and an advisor in international development, has written a book about the school's history to be released for its 150th anniversary.
He said: "The vet school has a very proud history and it has grown to be one of the top schools in the world.
"But it faced a lot of challenges and at one point was nearly closed.
"It is really thanks to the people of Glasgow that the vet school is now thriving and we have been very lucky to have the support of the Evening Times as well."
The Glasgow Vet School was founded in 1862 in a classroom in Sauchiehall Lane by James McCall, who spent 50 years as principle of the college.
Its roll of just 10 students gradually grew and Mr McCall moved the school to larger premises in Parliamentary Road fitted with stables, a shoeing forge and a hospital.
Queen Victoria granted the school a Royal Warrant in 1863 and 10 years later it moved to Buccleuch Street.
William Weipers, a local vet, was also instrumental in the development of the school and, as chairman of the Board of Directors of the College in 1949, he pushed to have the school integrated into the medical faculty of Glasgow University.
He faced strong opposition from the principal of the university who said he would "Not have the lowing of cattle on Gilmorehill".
Mr Weipers, who was knighted in 1966, became Dean of the vet school and used his 25-year leadership to establish the school as one of Europe's finest.
Veterinary care in the early days of the school was focused on horses because the animals were vital to transport and industry.
But as the need for care for dogs and cats increased the focus moved to small animals, with the opening of the Small Animal Hospital in the 1950s.
In the late 1960s the school became more like the institution that is present today with the transfer of all teaching from the City Centre to the Garscube Estate.
In 1989, the vet school suffered a severe blow when a government report recommended it and Cambridge vet school close to save the government money.
The findings caused an outcry across the city and a campaign supported by the Evening Times collected 700,000 signatures.
These were delivered to then prime minister Margaret Thatcher at Downing Street to show the city's support.
The school battled back from the crisis and began to draw students from around the world to study there and it is now one of only four in Europe to be accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The school has always had the motto "one health, one medicine" and its research links with the medical faculty have seen major breakthroughs.
Glasgow vets made a breakthrough in finding the cause of cancers in cattle that had major implications for the treatment of cervical cancer in women.
Research firsts have also included the development of the first vaccine in the world against worm infections in cows.
And they discovered and almost complete eradicated the leukaemia virus in cats and discovery of its similarities to HIV-AIDS.
Sir James Black, who founded the vet school's Physiology Department, won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1988 for discovering beta blockers and a revolutionary antacid, tagamet.
Mr Holmes added: "The vet school has a proud history at home and overseas. But we have always existed to serve the people and animals of Glasgow and we're proud to do that. Hopefully our school will continue to grow from strength to strength."