Maternity provision in the Borders underwent a big change in 1988 with the provision of a specialised unit at the new Borders General Hospital.
All hospital births after that took place at the BGH. The opening of the hospital and its maternity unit brought the total closure of Galashiels and Selkirk cottage hospitals and the Haig Maternity Hospital in Hawick.
Kelso Cottage Hospital survived but the maternity service was withdrawn. The last baby officially born there was Hamish Kerr on July 14. To mark the occasion that year’s Kelso Laddie, Steven Dickson, popped along to present mum Heather, from Nenthorn, and baby Hamish with a silver dish set. Looking on are Sister Midwife Alison Brunton, who delivered Hamish, and Senior Nursing Officer George Renton who was Provost of Kelso.
They say every picture tells a story – and this one did. While researching the background we learned that Hamish, who went on to become dux at the local high school, was the last official baby born at the hospital. But a few nights after the maternity services had ended one mum arrived on the doorstep and said she wouldn’t make it in time to the BGH or to the Haig, which was still functioning. So Sister Brunton delivered both the last official and the first unofficial baby at Kelso Cottage Hospital. There may have been others!
Compiled by Bob Burgess