Lady Home Hospital
Telephone: 01555 851 210
Copyright of Lindsay Addison
The Rise of the Cottage Hospital
By Dr Sandy Addison MBE
During Victorian times endorsing Cottage Hospitals became an outward show of rural worth, a visible demonstration of Christian charity.
The first Cottage Hospital in Scotland was opened at Crimond in 1865 and by the end of the 19th century these hospitals had became well established throughout the country. They were open to all local practitioners, and added greatly to the fulfilment of their professional lives. Patients too, liked the cottage hospital, because they could be looked after by their own doctors, close to home, relatives and friends.
In 1889 the people of Douglas had the great good fortune to have such a hospital commissioned by the 12th Countess of Home. The responsible architect was James Kerr, the clerk of works on the Douglas Estate, and the work carried out by local firms.
The hospital was intended for medical and surgical treatment of local residents and admission was denied to those suffering from incurable or infectious diseases, lunatics, epileptics or midwifery cases.
It must be remembered at that time the nearest General Hospitals were in Glasgow and Edinburgh, motor cars were rare and ambulances were virtually non existent. Only much later did the telephone come to be accepted as a necessity, and electric light take over from the paraffin lamp and the candle.
Doctors existed in those days more to prevent suffering than to save life and there was a deep division between urban and rural practitioners. Very differing standards of care were available and so the provision of their own rural hospital must have been nothing short of a miracle to the Douglas community.
This new, custom-built hospital was initially known as the Douglas Cottage Hospital and had ten beds but by 1909 had expanded to 12 beds and two cots plus six Sanatorium beds in a separate building. In the early part of this century tuberculosis was rife and in the hospital reports are recorded the deaths of many young people from this dreadful disease.
The Sanatorium was eventually removed on rollers to the village, and converted into two dwelling houses. In its place a bungalow and garage were built to house the ambulance driver and his vehicle. The first ambulance was donated by the British Red Cross Society in 1920 and in 1936 a new Humber ambulance was purchased.
Although the hospital was under the patronage of the Home family, funds were required to run it. Local patients were admitted free but patients from outside Douglas District were charged 5/- to 10/- per week. Charitable donations were readily accepted and in 1909 the collections from two football matches totalling £3-10-9 and a further £2-16-6 from a quoiting match are recorded. The local miners each donated one penny per a week from their wages.
Throughout its hundred years the hospital has never been bereft of funds for so generous has been the community it served.
Twenty five years after the opening of the hospital the spectre of war was to cast its shadow over Douglasdale from 1914 -1918. The activities of the hospital increased as convalescent soldiers were admitted for treatment. These came from the Cameronians, the Lanarkshire Yeomanry, the Seaforths, the 90th Winnipeg Rifles and contingents from Belgium.
In 1926 the hospital was handed over by Lord Home to the Douglas Community Trustees, who consisted of GPs, the Factor and their successors, and a management committee was formed to run it. The name Douglas Cottage Hospital was changed to the Lady Home Hospital in honour of the founder.
The hospital was to be supported by subscriptions and donations of money or kind which in the first year amounted to £1,099. This came from the local collieries, the Douglas Estate and farms, the Earl of Home himself, shops, railway stations, and the Douglas West workers.
The endowment fund stood at £4,714-9-0.
Five more beds were added at this time but no extra staff until 1929 when one nurse was appointed.
During the first part of the 20th century, in midwifery the majority of deliveries took place at home or in nursing homes probably with only a "handy-woman" present. Only desperate conditions like forceps deliveries and haemorrhage were sent to hospital and there was little if any ante-natal care.
It was 1936 before a maternity ward was opened along with a female ward, an operating theatre and three staff bedrooms. The first baby to be born there was Douglas Baillie on January 22, 1937, and he was later to become a famous Scotland and Glasgow Rangers football player.
In Scotland during the '50s and '60s there was a policy of restriction of services in cottage hospitals and the closure of a few very small units. Surgical anaesthetic and obstetric services were being quietly withdrawn, but we in Douglas managed to hold out until May '79 when our obstetric unit was closed.
While no doctor trained in obstetrics could ever advocate the return of domiciliary obstetrics we can but deprecate the closure of these GP obstetric units such as ours, for they were a safe and happy haven for many selected women.
Despite the depression in the '30s there was considerable activity at the hospital; in 1934 a Physiotherapy unit was built and this was fully renovated and enlarged in 1961: a radio was installed as a gift from the Central Press; and the staff was increased in 1939 to a matron, one full-time nurse and three probationers. The hospital by now had 21 beds and two cots and the weekly charge had risen to four pence for subscribers and 30/- for non subscribers.
The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 meant many years of restricted development, but 1948 brought dramatic changes. The incorporation of Cottage Hospitals into the National Health Service meant that control was handed over from local hands to a seemingly distant Board of Management. There was, however, relief that the rising costs would no longer be a local issue but would be part of a national commitment. Despite this, the community of Douglas, Rigside, Coalburn, Glespin, Abington, Crawford and Crawfordjohn have continued their voluntary contributions in both money and kind with heart-warming generosity.
In the mid-'70s a new male ward replaced the small cramped one which had served for most of the century; bathrooms and toilets were upgraded; a new staff dining room was created, and a refurbished waiting room was eagerly accepted.
The treatment room upgraded to a fine accident unit which ranks among the finest in any Scottish GP hospital.
The hospital is now in the forefront of GP hospitals providing as it does in-patient care for a variety of illnesses, an active accident and emergency unit, out patient facilities with visiting surgical and medical specialists. And a modern physiotherapy unit.
But what is more important, it is a caring hospital and is still making the same considerable contribution to the relief of suffering that it did one hundred years ago.
Extract from page six of the centenary souvenir supplement of the
Carluke and Lanark Gazette
Patients and Lady Home Hospital staff enjoy the sunshine on the day of the centenary celebrations 1989
Copyright of Lindsay Addison
Post card picture of Lady Home Hospital from yester year.
By Ross Thomson
Click on the above logo for link to NHS Lanarkshire information
Dr. Kirstie Stramler
Douglasdale Medical Practice
Douglasdale Medical Practice QOF Database statistics 2007
Healthy Valleys summer newsletter 2008
Scottish Charity - SC034253
The Home (Hume) Family