I thought I would write in a little more detail about the opening of the Blantyre Health Centre.
The opening ceremony took place on Friday 12th October 1928, in presence of a large gathering of invited guests, the opening took place in Blantyre of a child welfare clinic, the third of its kind to be erected at different centres by the County Council of Lanark.
Mr Gavin Shanks, J.P., chairman of the Middle Ward District Committee presided and the building on Victoria Street, Blantyre was declared open by Mr John Campbell. J.P, chairman of the Middle Ward Services Committee.
The building consisted of a central hall to seat 250 people, a maternity and child welfare clinic, committee rooms, treatment and recovery rooms and a research laboratory.
It was fitted with a sunlight-treatment apparatus and cinema operating room, together with offices and rooms for the local officials in the public health services. The cost was £7,000 for its construction.
Mr Campbell said the erection of those premises marked the completion of the third Health Institute which the District Committee had set up in recent years. Until that time the local arrangements in Blantyre for carrying the work in connection with materity and child welfare and tuberculosis had not been at all satisfactory.
The premises prior to that had been unsuitable both in situation and in the general character and equipment for the purpose of healthcare. As a result, the work had been limited and the efficiency had been impaired. Maternity and child welfare and tuberculosis were branches of work which the greatest attention was necessary, and the District Committee decided to provide suitable premises which would enable the following services to satisfactorily carried on. namely :—maternity and child welfare clinic, tuberculosis dispensary, factorage of houses, local office for the sanitary inspector, water inspector, road foreman, and offices for the lighting and drainage inspector.
It was worthy of mention that the health measures which had been taken by the District Committee during those past few years had resulted in a steadily falling death rate among the Blantyre children under one year.
Ten years ago (1918) the death rate of infants per 1000 in the Blantyre Parish was 144. By the opening of the Health centre in 1928, the rate was reduced to 75 per 1000.
With the modern facilities made available in those new buildings, everything pointed to a further reduction both in the sickness and death rates, and all of Blantyre was sure that they wished the best possible success to the new venture. There were very high hopes for future healthcare in Blantyre.
The accommodation in the new building consisted of a large lecture hall, record room, dispensary, doctor’s consulting room, treatment room, with waiting, dressing and recovery rooms in connection therewith, laboratory, committee room which could be used as a nurses room, demonstration kitchen with scullery, children’s play room which was also to be used for artificial sun treatment, a sanitary inspector’s public and private offices, bath rooms and disinfecting rooms and boiler house with the entrance hall and lavatory accommodation.
On the upper floor provision made for a cinema operating room with winding room and storage. The premises had cost about £7,000 to construct but a large proportion of this was borne the State. During the speeches, it was noted that the services of public health must always maintained at a high standard, but there should never be extravagance, and thought it would found that this Institute represented the minimum that could provided for the purposes.
It was John Campbell’s pleasant duty as chairman of the Local Services Committee of the Middle Ward of Lanarkshire to formally declare the new premises open. He felt sure that full advantage would taken by the people of the district in the facilities which were offered in these premises, and hoped that the new scheme would adequately fulfil the high hopes they all had regarding it.
Thereafter Mr Andrew Wright, on behalf of the measurer and contractors, presented Mr Campbell with silver cigar case as a souvenir of the occasion. Remarks were afterwards made by Mr A.B Maxwell, Mr Edward Daly, and Mr Hendry, who expressed, on behalf of the inhabitants of Blantyre, their appreciation that such a finely and suitably equipped building had been built. A vote of thanks to the Chairman was moved by Mr James Tonner after which tea was served and the public then had an opportunity of inspecting the new premises via guided tours.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c)2016
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Elizabeth Weaver It was a fine building. We went there to be weighed as babies and I remember the cod liver oil and children’s orange juice being put into the pram basket as we left. Lovely to see it again.