Mabel’s Tearoom

Another remarkable lady of The Dorcas Society was Mrs Agnes Mabel Murray Mackinlay – born in 1876 to a prosperous temperance family – a cousin of Miss Cranston of Cranston’s Tearoom fame.  As a young married woman  – and she had six children – she visited Stobhill Hospital when it was a military hospital for the wounded soldiers during WW1.  Her son Dr C.J. Mackinlay told how as children they were trooped out wearing their kilts to give cigarettes and sweets to the soldiers.  After the war Mrs Mackinlay wanted to continue her hospital service and joined The Dorcas Society at Glasgow Royal Infirmary as a Ward Visitor.  She also worked in the Clothing Room and continued her service at Glasgow Royal Infirmary between the wars.

In 1942, during WW2, Mrs Mackinlay saw the need for a cup of tea for outpatients waiting to be seen at clinics.  She was given a small room in the old Outpatients Department and she started a non-profit making service 5 days per week.  Workers were strictly supervised.  Each took in a pan loaf, made into sandwiches, 20 cakes and 20 scones and a “clean pinny”.  She was very strict, but she ran a great show and all were delighted to be part of it.  When Mrs Mackinlay retired, aged 91, her 5 days a week voluntary service could not be replaced and from that time a paid manager with voluntary helpers and a nucleus of paid staff gave the continuity of service.  The voluntary helpers were drawn from the Committee – Doctors’ wives and friends and retired nurses who enjoyed coming back to the Royal Infirmary.  This continued for nearly 40 years but because of new regulations for training and food handling the Tearoom – Mabel’s  is now run by a team of paid workers.

After more than 70 years, the tearoom has grown and is now in the Queen Elizabeth Building in the new Outpatient Department.  It is called The Mabel Mackinlay Tearoom or affectionately “Mabel’s”.  Now we buy 600 rolls per day, make sandwiches and have bought cakes, but we pride ourselves in having modest prices and the best coffee in Glasgow.  The considerable profit from the tearoom all goes towards improving the comfort, care and support of the patients in Glasgow Royal Infirmary through GRI Dorcas Charitable Trust.

Mrs Mackinlay was given a British Empire Medal for her volunteering in social work in 1965.

From water to coffee we are sure the Mabel's Team has something to quench your thirst

An apple a day as they say but if you need something more pop in and grab a bite to eat.

Come and visit us on the Ground Floor of the Queen Elizabeth Building.