Hawick Cottage Hospital reached the ripe old age of 100 in August 1985 – and fears that celebrations might be dampened by a closure threat hanging over the complex were lifted.
Borders General Hospital was being built near Melrose and cottage hospitals in Galashiels and Selkirk were destined to close when it opened.
Hawick too was under threat with the Borders Health Board commissioning a new health centre for the town.
But board secretary David Peters confirmed to TheSouthern: “Hawick Cottage Hospital will continue to operate after the opening of both new facilities.”
The news delighted the band of volunteers who were organising a centenary exhibition and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by the Duke of Buccleuch.
The duke did the business on August 30.
One hundred years earlier – on August 31 – the hospital had been opened by the then Duchess of Buccleuch. The foundation stone had been laid on August 30 the previous year and the construction costs, £1,399 had been raised by donations, subscriptions and fundraising.
It had 12 beds, but wards were added in 1892, 1906, 1910 and 1924. An operating theatre, X-ray department, offices and a dayroom were later added.
By the time of the centenary the hospital had 31 beds, a nursing staff of 35 plus 10 auxiliaries. In 1984 it coped with 444 admissions.
Our picture from the past shows the hospital’s ninth matron – and its first nursing officer – Marjorie Bell looking over the 1885 management team minute book which formed part of the birthday exhibition.
The town now has a new hospital. Hawick Community Hospital opened in July 2005. It replaced the cottage hospital, the town’s adult day unit, West Port dementia unit and the mental health services. It opened with 24 beds – on time and within its £4.5million budget.
– compiled by Bob Burgess
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