Black Betty ambulance was one of a number of Victorian ambulance services that ran for its life during the 1820s.
The ambulance was a specialised unit, originally used to carry out special operations in rural areas of Scotland and Ireland.
In 1823 it was involved in a number the fatal collision of a train with a wagon, and the subsequent fire.
When the ambulance rolled onto the streets of Black Betty, in Glasgow, in the early hours of Monday 6 March, it was the first ambulance in the town to arrive.
Black Betty’s history As the ambulance service grew, it also became more experienced and trained.
In the 1850s Black Betty was the only ambulance service in the country to use horse harnesses.
Its history, as well as its location on a road with several large stone buildings and a large church, was an important feature of the city’s history.
As well as providing medical care to the city, Black Betty provided emergency services to the wider Glasgow area, as it did to other Scottish towns and cities.
In addition, Black Betys main duty was to provide the local population with emergency aid.
This was a particularly important function during the Great Fire of 1846, which raged through the city during 1847.
The city was completely burnt down, and many residents were forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
Black Beties life and work The city of Glasgow was in ruins.
As the flames reached Black Betty it began to become clear that the town could not hold out long.
It became the first emergency service to call on the Royal Scots Ambulance Service (RSAS) for emergency services, with a request for help being made at 3:00am on 6 March.
The request was granted, but was later withdrawn due to the fire’s rapid spread.
BlackBetys main duties in the Great War The service was not the only service that responded to the Great Scottish Fire of 1863.
The Royal Scots, the Scottish Police, the Civil Defence Corps, and other forces also responded.
In total, BlackBeties ambulance carried out more than 10,000 calls, and saved hundreds of lives.
In its first year in operation, Blackbetys first medical aid was dispatched to the scene of the fire, which included delivering oxygen and blankets to those injured in the blaze.
In subsequent years, the service continued to provide medical assistance to the population of Glasgow, and it was one service that could not be replaced by the RSAS.
In 1919 Black Betty took on a more significant role in the city.
This time, the emergency service was responsible for assisting in the reconstruction of the City of Glasgow.
As part of its reconstruction work, Black bety was called upon to carry on the duties of a local hospital.
It was here that Black Betty saved the lives of the local residents of Glasgow and assisted in the reopening of the hospital.
In 1940 Black Betty performed a number other services, such as providing water and sanitation services and providing fire and police protection.
In 1944, the Black Betty service was transferred to the Glasgow Public Hospital.
By 1948, the city had undergone a major reconstruction, which was completed by the construction of the Glasgow Tower.
The tower was completed in 1949.
In 1950 the service was relocated to the old Glasgow City Hospital, and in 1951 it was again moved to the new Glasgow City Centre.
In 1957, the Glasgow City Fire Brigade, in partnership with the Black Bety ambulance service, undertook a major project to rebuild the city centre.
This included the reconstruction and renovation of Glasgow’s main buildings.
It took about two years to complete the project.
In 1968, Black Bettys main functions were transferred to an ambulance service based at the University of Glasgow (UGF), with the goal of providing medical assistance during the Cold War.
In 1973 the service moved to another Glasgow hospital, the City Hospital (now the University Hospitals Trust).
The service continued in the same position until the 1990s.
As a result of this reorganisation, Black BETys ambulance service was no longer required.
The City Hospital’s facilities have not changed since its closure in 1995, and no further ambulance service has been established in Glasgow.
A museum has been set up at the city hospital in memory of those who died in the fire.
This is the only active Black Betty emergency service in Glasgow and the first in Scotland.
In 2014, the historic buildings of the University Hospital were refurbished to create a new building, the Glasgow City Centre Hospital, which opened in 2018.
The Glasgow Hospital was the most visited hospital in Scotland during the reconstruction process, with about 4,000 people visiting every day, and an average of 8,000 visitors per day.
In 2018, the building underwent an extensive refurbishment, including a new roof and lighting, new elevators, a new lift and new corridors and lifts, and a new ambulance service.
In 2019, a large public memorial was erected to honour the lives lost during the fire in the building.
In 2020, a memorial plaque was placed at the entrance