KILSYTH VICTORIA COTTAGE HOSPITAL CENTENARY

                       

 1903 - 2003

In 1897, it was proposed that a cottage hospital be established in Kilsyth as a tribute and memorial to Queen Victoria in the 60th year of her reign. A committee was formed and discussions went for some time until in June 1900 a deputation proceeded to Denny to obtain information about that town's cottage hospital and the working of it.

By September 1900, it was resolved that the Hospital project should be proceeded with, and at a special meeting in the town, with Sir Archibald and lady Edmonstone present, the old school at lnnsbridge was inspected since it had been suggested as a suitable building for adapting as a Hospital.

Sir Archibald offered to give the committee the building at valuation or, if it was thought desirable to build the Hospital on another site, to give a feu. It was decided to accept this latter generous offer (it was virtually a free gift) and to proceed to gather funds to meet the cost of constructing and furnishing the Hospital. Sir Archibald and lady Edmonstone donated 150 towards the fund and he promised a "liberal subscription towards annual expenditure." Other monies were to come from public contributions, and a bazaar.

And so, the cottage rose on its present site and was officially opened on the 18'h April 1903 by Sir Archibald Edmonstone. The Trustees were Sir Archibald, Provost Wilson (Quarrymaster), Rev. Peter Anton (Parish Minister), James Forgie (iron & Coalmaster & Manager to William Baird & Co.) and Robert Graham (Banker) who was also Secretary to the Hospital. A Mr David Brown also played a very important role in getting the Hospital built and functioning, but sadly he died before the official opening.

The Trustees promulgated a Constitution for the Hospital of which the first paragraph stated "......the Hospital is intended to deal with such cases of accident as are not sufficiently severe to require Infirmary treatment or are so severe as to make the removal of a patient to the nearest Infirmary dangerous. It is also intended to benefit patients whose disease or injuries are such as to render home nursing inadvisable or impossible and whose cases are considered to be admissible to the Hospital. It is intended primarily for the benefit of the industrial population of the parishes of Kilsyth etc. The Hospital will be open to all parties requiring surgical treatment of any kind."

The Constitution goes on to officially acknowledge the Trustees and assign the care, and maintenance of the building to them, as well as managing the finances - the endowments and contributions and of course, the expenses. It is interesting to note that the miners principally as well as William Baird & Co provided more than half of the Hospital's annual income for many decades. Regular contributions came from the quarries, steelworks, Railway Co as well as public subscriptions.

The Constitution also states "... in addition to any Endowment Fund which may be instituted (the Hospital) be supported by voluntary subscription and payments by patients who are obliged to pay or who can afford to pay or are willing to pay." Not surprisingly, miners' families were treated free.

The Hospital had two wards and sluices, one ward with 6 beds and the other with 7 beds. There was a small operating room, duty room, kitchen and Matron had a bed- sitter/ office upstairs.

An ambulance wagon was acquired and arrangements were made for housing the wagon and stabling the horse.

The male ward was to the left of the entrance hall and female ward to the right but these arrangements were interchangeable depending on the number and sex of admissions required. Initially some quite major surgery was carried out in the theatre, including amputations of legs and feet, mastectomies and many orthopaedic manipulation of fractures or numerous bones of the body. Children parted with their tonsils and adenoids and enlarged glands in the neck (often tuberculous). Not unusually it was Mum or Gran who came to nurse the patient, as Matron did not have a nursing staff as such.

Abdominal operations for gall-bladder, duodenal ulcer etc. were also carried out, but from the late 1940's it was only minor surgery which was performed, and a very good basic accident and emergency service provided.

In the late 1950's a Physiotherapy Department and a new Treatment Room (the Theatre became the Waiting Room) were added which further greatly enhanced services provided by the Hospital. A Day Room was also added to the back of the hospital, built out onto what had been a very productive vegetable garden.

Then in 1975 the Hospital was closed for about five or six months for the massive reorganisation and enlargement which brought it to its present excellent status; upgraded to 17 beds and a larger Physiotherapy Department. Although the Hospital came under NHS management in 1948, it still receives many donations from a variety of Social Clubs, Sports Clubs Commercial Organisations, Youth Organisations and sometimes proceeds from a sale of work or concert held in someone's back garden and organised by a group of primary school children.

It is good to know that the Hospital is remembered and appreciated over such a wide spectrum of the local population.

BS/DC

10/03/03