Muirhead Trust

Financially supporting the education of Scottish women in medical sciences and engineering since 1910.

Henry Muirhead

Dr Henry Muirhead, MD LFPSG FFPSG, house surgeon at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. Credit: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Biography of Henry Muirhead

Henry Muirhead was born in 1814, the eighth child of thirteen. His father James Muirhead and his elder brother John were skinners in Pollokshaws, Glasgow.

Henry's background was not a privileged one and through his ambition, energy, and intellectual power he managed to fund his way through University. Henry Muirhead studied Medicine at the University of Glasgow and gained his degree in 1844, becoming a House Surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

He eventually turned his attention to the department of mental disease, taking up the position of the proprietor and then the resident physician of Longdales Asylum for Lunatics in Bothwell. He eventually retired to Bushyhills, Cambuslang in 1867.

In his retirement, Henry devoted much of his time to the study of science, especially metaphysics and meteorology and encouraging scientific progress in Glasgow. He was President of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow and endowed the Muirhead Demonstratorship in Physiology in 1877. He was awarded a Doctor of Law (LLD) by the University in 1886. Henry was also a Governor of Anderson's College and the West of Scotland Technical College. He was also the founder of the Public Library and Working Man's Social Union at Cambuslang.

By all accounts, Henry Muirhead was an amiable, warm-hearted, generous, and intellectual man who died at the age of 76 on the 31st July 1890.

About Muirhead Trust

Henry Muirhead left a large portion of his savings to establish a college to be called Muirhead College in or near Glasgow for the instruction of women in physical and biological science. These women students were to receive an education to enable them to practise as medical practitioners, dentists, electricians, chemists etc.

Dr Henry stated "I Henry Muirhead M.D., LL.D., Bushyhill, on the consideration that I have all my life been very much indebted to the aid of Women... and seeing how small a share of real, good, solid and scientific education has been accorded to women, I have been induced to Bequeath the greater portion of my savings for the purpose of erecting and partially endowing an Institution or College somewhat after the model of the Old Andersonian, for the Education of Women by Women, as far as that can be practically and judiciously be carried out."

Unfortunately, Dr Henry Muirhead's Trustees were unable to carry out his request for various reasons, and it was decided that a Muirhead Trust Fund, regulated by a Private Act of Parliament, "Muirhead Trust Order Confirmation Act 1910" would be a practical solution.

In 1911, Dr Henry's Trustees endowed the University of Glasgow with the Muirhead Chair of Medicine; the Muirhead Chair of Obstetrics and Gynaecology; the St Mungo Chair of Surgery and the St Mungo-Notman Chair of Pathology. These chairs are no longer supported.

The Trustees continue to award students at University of Glasgow with the Muirhead Award for Medicine and at the University of Strathclyde there are Awards for years 1, 2 and 3 in Pharmacy.

Each year the trustees meet to award small hardship grants to Scottish female students studying in Scotland in one of the following disciplines: Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Dentistry. Science and Engineering, including Biological and Chemical Engineering as well as the more traditional Engineering subjects, are also supported.

Muirhead Trust Grant Form


Female students who are of Scottish origin or have lived most of their lives in Scotland, preferably studying in Scotland are eligible to apply for funding from the Muirhead Trust

The Trust supports aspiring medical practitioners, Veterinary Medical practitioners, Pharmacists, Nurses and Dentists. The Trust also supports female students studying Science and Engineering, including Biological and Chemical Engineering as well as the more traditional Engineering subjects.

Biomedical, Environmental, Forensic Science, Life Sciences, and Arts and Humanities are out with the Trust's remit.

PhD funding is not supported by the Muirhead Trust.

Notes for applicants

  • Please enclose an academic transcript with your application.
  • For students about to enter their first year of study, please provide evidence of your unconditional offer.
  • Please provide evidence that you have met the conditions of your offer as soon as you have been informed.
  • If you were in receipt of a grant from the Muirhead Trust, we request you send a letter or report informing the Trust of your personal year of study.
  • The Trust may decide to meet all the beneficiaries of awards at the end of the academic year.

Privacy Policy

The Muirhead Trust is committed to protecting the privacy of its applicants. If you apply for an award, the personal data you submit will be held on a secure password protected site. This is necessary to enable the Trustees to assess your application and to administer any award. Under the terms of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into force on 25th May 2018, 'Legitimate interest' is the lawful basis for processing your personal data.

The personal information you provide in your application will be made available only to Trustees who have a role in assessing applications. It will not be shared with any other parties. It will be used only for the purpose of assessing your application. Individual data relating to unsuccessful applicants will be destroyed following the awards meeting. Individual data relating to successful applicants will be destroyed at the end of the period of the award.

In addition to the personal information provided at the application stage, the Trust may request further personal data to enable awards to be paid. Such data will be made available only to Trustees who have a direct role in administering or monitoring awards.

Some information you provide may be used to support data analysis. Any analysis will present aggregated, but not personal, data in any public report.

The Trust is registered with the Charity Commission. It is required to submit an Annual Report, which will be made publicly accessible. The report may contain names of awardees for the year in question and the amount of their award. It will contain no further personal information.

If you have any questions about the way in which we hold and process your personal information, or if you wish to make a complaint, please contact the Trust.


Although the Muirhead Trust is a small Trust with limited funds and income, it has nevertheless been able to assist many students, to varying extents, over the years. The calls for financial assistance are now being received in greater numbers than the Trust can adequately service. The Trustees would like to think that perhaps students who have received assistance from the Trust might, in years to come when they are in gainful employment, consider donating to the Trust which could then help another student facing financial difficulties similar to those they themselves had experienced.

If you wish to donate to the Trust, please email or write to the address below.

Get in Touch

Mr William Vernall, Secretary and Treasurer, Muirhead Trust, Milne Craig Chartered Accountants, Abercorn House, 79 Renfrew Road, Paisley. PA3 4DA