Medical Practice in Peebles

came very suddenly. The doctors were helped by Mrs Mitchell, the wife of one of the United Free ministers who was medically qualified (a rare being in those days) and by Dr A. E. Gow, who was then on the staff of the Hydro which had been taken over as a hospital for Naval officers. He later became physician to St Bartholomews Hospital in London, so no doubt the Peebles folk were in good hands. Another helper was Dr T. D. Luke who, before the Hydro was taken over by the Royal Navy, had been physician to the Hydro. He was seconded to the RNVR for the duration.


After the war, life settled down to a more normal routine. The two houses on Tweed Green, mentioned above, were acquired and converted into a cottage hospital with a small operating theatre and maternity unit. It was opened in October 1922 and became known as The War Memorial Hospital. This must have added interest to the work of the local doctors. Visiting consultants came from Edinburgh and carried out quite major surgery there - assisted by the local doctors who also acted as anaesthetists. The maternity department, too, must have eased their workload considerably and saved them many a journey and perhaps a long wait in a country cottage.

During the 1930s there were two notable advances in medicine, namely the advent of the sulphonamide group of drugs, which greatly improved the outlook in many cases of pneumonia, and the immunisation of children to diphtheria. Prior to these advances, deaths from pneumonia were common, not infrequently in young fit men, and diphtheria caused deaths among children.

Towards the end of the 1930s the war clouds were again gathering and, in September 1939, war against Germany was declared following the invasion of Poland. Britain expected early and massive air-raids on its cities, and large numbers of children were evacuated into country areas. Kingsmeadows House was requisitioned and taken over to be used as a hospital for expectant mothers from Glasgow, to which they would come before delivery and be looked after during and after delivery. The hospital was under the care of Dr A. Temple, one of the local practitioners. The massive air-raids did not come about, at any rate in Scotland, apart from the Clydebank and Greenock raids in the spring of 1941, and the Glasgow mothers for