Framed In Time

ST. Aidans silver jubilee mass. (sept 1980)
ST. Aidans silver jubilee mass. (sept 1980)

We turn the clock back to September 1980 when the Brothers of Charity held three days of celebrations to mark the silver jubilee of their St Aidan’s complex at Gattonside.

An apostolic blessing from the Pope was delivered by Cardinal Gordon Gray, Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, during a concelebrated mass.

Our photograph shows guests who attended the mass to mark the 25 years that the Brothers of Charity had provided care for mentally-handicapped patients at St Aidan’s.

It was in 1954 that the Brothers moved from their base at Gorebridge to Gattonside where a year was spent renovating the premises before the first patients were admitted.

Guests travelled from as far afield as Dublin, Limerick and Liverpool, while locals who accepted invitations included Judy Steel, Jean Maxwell-Scott of Abbotsford, Mrs Maxwell Stuart from Traquair, Mrs A. Watson, chairman of the Borders Spastics Association, and local clergy.

Among the speakers were Donald Macdonald, director of social work for the Borders, and Dr Bill Fraser, consultant psychiatrist and senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh.

Cardinal Gray told the mass: “I think often of the Brothers and their contribution to caring; of their sharing of their skills and their time.

I think of the Gattonside committee whose concern is to better the amenities provided and to help the Brothers use their skills more effectively. I think of this house in its beautiful setting by the Tweed.”

St Aidan’s was built as Gattonside House by John and Thomas Smith of Darnick in 1826 as a middle-sized mansion. The chapel in which the mass was celebrated was designed and built by Brother Columba Farrelly, who died in 1972.

– compiled by Bob Burgess