AFTER passing by the Balmoral Hotel for decades, staring through its grand glass doors wondering if she would ever get the opportunity to go inside, Elizabeth Archibald’s wish finally came true – on her 100th birthday.
The great-grandmother spent her special day surrounded by her friends and family in the five-star city hotel, as she enjoyed her birthday lunch.
Elizabeth Lewis was born on January 19, 1916, and was the daughter of Robert Lewis and Johan Lewis.
She was one of 11 children and was brought up in Leith, attending Lochend Road School.
At the age of 12, the bright youngster was offered a place at Leith Academy but unfortunately, due to money difficulties, she was forced to attend House Wifery on Glover Street as an alternative.
Up until the war, and the age of 24, Elizabeth worked for Duncan’s Chocolate Factory making boxes for confectionery.
In 1940, she married George Archibald, and then went on to have various jobs throughout the war.
Her grandson Johnathan Hill, 47, said one of his grandmother’s most memorable jobs was working as a labourer at Waverley Station.
On October 1, 1941, Elizabeth and George had their only child, a daughter named Johan, after Elizabeth’s mother.
After time off caring for her child, Elizabeth returned to work at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where she was employed as a domestic help for 25 years.
Grandson Johnathan said: “She loved working at the hospital and caring for others.
“She worked there right up until she retired at the age of 60.
“She’s doing absolutely great for her age and up until the last two years she was really active.”
After retiring, Elizabeth turned her attention to spending time with her family and participating in weekly hobbies.
The great-grandmother enjoyed ballroom dancing classes as well playing bowls. She played regularly at Easter Road and Regent Road, up until she turned 90.
He said: “Now she enjoys staying home and spending time with her great grandchildren. She sometimes nips out for a paper in the morning.”
Elizabeth is a great-grandmother to Joanne Hill, 11, and Louise Hill, eight. And she is a grandmother to Johnathan, and his sister Elizabeth, 45.
Johnathan said: “My sister lives in Australia but she came home especially for our gran’s birthday.
“She’s been really chirpy over the last few days and I think that’s why.”
He added: “She had a great time at the Balmoral Hotel and really enjoyed her lunch – they brought out a lovely little cake for her. She was both overwhelmed and emotional when she opened up her card from the Queen.”