IT has treated hundreds of thousands of patients but now demolition of one of Glasgow’s oldest hospitals has started.

The Western Infirmary, which was built in 1874, is being redeveloped by Glasgow University as part of a £1 billion expansion scheme.

The 14-acre site was sold to the university for £14 million as part of a historic land agreement that will see new buildings for health, business, chemistry and the arts and performing spaces.

The first £430m phase, lasting five years, will see the construction of new buildings, together with clearance of the Western Infirmary site and landscaping.

Among the first to be completed will be a learning and teaching hub, a research hub, an Institute of Health and Wellbeing, premises for the Adam Smith Business School, a base for the College of Arts, including performance spaces, and an upgrade of the Joseph Black Building.

A second phase of work is scheduled to start in 2023 on a new engineering centre, an “innovation quarter” to engage with local industry and a building for research into chronic diseases.

An estimated 2,500 jobs are expected to be created during the construction period, with the university promising that the development will bring significant community, economic, environmental and cultural benefits.

The principal and vice-chancellor, Professor Anton Muscatelli, has said: “These plans are about far more than investment in buildings.

“Our focus is on creating an inclusive and welcoming campus, fit for the 21st century and beyond, which will continue to attract the brightest and best students and staff from across the globe.”

The Western Infirmary was developed on land owned by the university as a teaching hospital and opened in 1874.

A clause was signed stating that if the hospital ever ceased to be a hospital, the university could buy back the site. In 2002, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board announced the hospital was to close, with services transferred to Gartnavel General and the South Glasgow University Hospital.

It finally closed its doors on December 6, 2015.