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The Three and Sixpenny Doctor

Leith Hospital

‘I remember Leith Hospital because I was never out of the place.’

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Nurses in Red Cross competition at Leith Hospital, 1950s

(Photo courtesy of Ena Munro )

‘In Leith we had medical wards, surgical wards and a gynaecological ward. We did eye operations, orthopaedics and we did ear, nose and throat, and never had any infection.’

Ena Munro, born 1930s

Telephonist and Head Porter in Reception Hall, Leith Hospital, 1950s (Photo courtesy of Ena Munro)

‘In those days when you went to the hospital, say with a cut finger, they bandaged it up and, when you went home, you had to wash that bandage, boil it, and take it back again.’

George Hackland, born 1920

Exercises in Ward 2, Leith Hospital, 1950s
(Photo courtesy of Ena Munro)

‘You had to go round and straighten up all the bed covers, and the wheels had to face in the one direction. All the cupboard doors had to be shut, and there were lots of them, before Matron did her rounds. If not you’d get into trouble! I still shut cupboard doors. Old habits die hard. In Ward Three, which I had, there was a pillar in the middle and there was a marble fireplace at either side. It was great when you were on night duty and you stoked up the fire.’

Ena Munro, born 1930s

‘The hospital belonged to the people of Leith.’

‘The poorest o’ the poor helped.You gave what you had and, somehow or other, they built the wing for the kids.’

Joyce Myles, born 1930s

‘If you went to Casualty, and if you had a conscience, which a lot of folk didnae have, you put sixpence in the box. That’s how it was paid for. And the ship-builders and the provision merchants would provide beds. You could donate a bed, and you could keep it going over the years.’

Rose Minto, born 1920

Welcoming the Duke and Duchess of Kent, Leith Hospital, 1935 (Photo, LMA archive)

‘The school kids used to get dressed up as Alice in Wonderland and things like that. We used to follow the floats along. Great times. At the Links they had Highland dancing, the fun-fare and the pipes and bands and different things like that.’

Kathy from Astley Ainslie Hospital, memory from 1940s

‘The Boy Scouts went round with a huge oval clothes basket collecting eggs and, when it was full, took it in the tramcar to Leith Hospital. They were hard-up days but everybody gave something. And it meant that the patients, and a lot o’ them were poor, they could get an egg for their breakfast or tea or whatever. And it was very well run. A lot o’ the businessmen in Leith, they donated the money to build the wards.’

George Hackland, born 1920

Leith Hospital Parade 1920s

(Photo, City Of Edinburgh Museums and Galleries Collection)

‘Oh aye, we used to have a pageant every year, same as Edinburgh Royal Infirmary had one, a huge parade thing wi’ floats and all that, bands and everybody collecting money and that paid for the running o’ the hospital.’

George Hackland, born 1920