Nostalgia: 117 years of the Sick Kids

Children blow out candles to mark the 75th anniversary of the hospital in October 1970
Children blow out candles to mark the 75th anniversary of the hospital in October 1970
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YOUNG patients at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children gathered in October 1970 to blow out the candles on a cake to celebrate the 75th birthday of the Sciennes Road building, which opened in 1895.

The hospital – more commonly known in the Capital as the Sick Kids – was in the news this week after plans for a new state-of-the-art facility next to the Royal Infirmary in Little France were given the go ahead.

Lady Provost Mrs Weatherstone visits Sick Children's Hospital

Lady Provost Mrs Weatherstone visits Sick Children's Hospital

It was 1860 when a children’s hospital was first set up in the city, with 12 in-patient beds available. Services moved to Meadowside House and the former Morningside College before relocating to the Sciennes site, which was deemed “not fit for purpose” in 2003.

Over the years, the Sick Kids has welcomed many guests, including Edinburgh’s Lady Provost, Mrs Featherstone, who dropped by to meet nurses and young patients in 1959.

Special occasions are always keenly marked in a bid to keep a smile on the children’s faces, with nurses in 1957 making a tour of the hospital quietly singing Christmas carols, while Sick Kids centenary celebrations in 1960 saw nurses and children gather round the television.

Keeping the patients entertained and distracted from their illnesses is a key feature of the Sick Kids, and characters such as the giant Cabbage Patch Kid who visited in 1985 play a crucial role.

Nurses sing Christmas carols at the Sick Kids in 1967

Nurses sing Christmas carols at the Sick Kids in 1967

Away from the hospital, fund-raising efforts are always ongoing.

Star names such as one-time Hibs goalkeeper Andy Goram and snooker player Chris Small were on hand to smash open a collection bottle at Leith Snooker Club in April 1992.