Last ever child born at Elsie Inglis’ hospital celebrates 30th birthday

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KatRINA McIntosh is the picture of happiness as she beams into the camera cradling her four-day old daughter surrounded by nurses.

Not only was the new mum thrilled with her special delivery, she was honoured that baby Samantha would be the last child ever to be born in the Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital which closed its doors to admissions on October 17 1988.

Katrina McIntosh gave birth to her daughter, Samantha on 17th October 1988 - the day the hospital closed.

Katrina McIntosh gave birth to her daughter, Samantha on 17th October 1988 - the day the hospital closed.

Katrina, 61, said: “I was really hoping that Samantha would be born in Elsie Inglis because my son had been born there two years earlier.”

Even though Katrina, who lived on Easter Road with husband Sam and son Steven, had attended all her antenatal classes at the Abbeyhill hospital, doctors had booked her into the Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion for the birth.

She went into labour five days early though and was taken to her first choice where she gave birth to a bouncing baby daughter at 10.40pm. Samantha weighed a healthy 6lb 8oz.

She said: “I knew the hospital was closing on the 17th and I wondered if I would make it. When I took labour pains on that morning I couldn’t believe that I might have her there.”

Katrina McIntosh gave birth to her daughter, Samantha on 17th October 1988 - the day the hospital closed

Katrina McIntosh gave birth to her daughter, Samantha on 17th October 1988 - the day the hospital closed

Now 30 years on, the family are getting ready to celebrate Samantha’s milestone birthday with dinner and drinks out on the town.

Katrina recalls three of four other mums in the ward with her and remembers a baby boy being born earlier that day, but it was her Samantha who earned the title of the last baby to be born at the beloved maternity hospital.

When Katrina and baby Samantha left five days later she was the last mum in the building.

She said: “It was quite emotional. It was eerie because you could see all the little cribs like fishtanks piled up in the corner.”

Mothers and children demonstrate outside the Elsie Inglis Memorial hospital in Edinburgh, on the last day before it closed in October 1988.

Mothers and children demonstrate outside the Elsie Inglis Memorial hospital in Edinburgh, on the last day before it closed in October 1988.

The nurses gathered around her outside to take some final photographs before they all waved goodbye to the building.

Named after Elsie Inglis, the pioneering doctor and suffragist who founded a maternity hospital on the Royal Mile and went on to set up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia, Russia, France and Belgium during the First World War, the hospital is fondly remembered by its mothers.

Katrina remembers the nurses and doctors being kind and treating her and Samantha with great care.

She said: “I can’t thank the nurses enough there. It was real one-to-one care and they were all lovely. We kept in touch for years after Samantha was born.”

Exterior of the Elsie Inglis hospital in Edinburgh, with a For Sale sign in August 1992.

Exterior of the Elsie Inglis hospital in Edinburgh, with a For Sale sign in August 1992.

Nurses gifted the newborn a silver bracelet, a pink baby blanket, an engraved photo frame and a book on Elsie Inglis - all of which Katrina cherishes.

Babies three and four, Scott and Sam Jr, made their entrances at the Simpsons in 1993 and 1997 respectively.

Katrina, now a grandmother of three, said: “The nurses were all trying to convince me to call her Elsie but I wanted to name her after her dad.

“It was such a lovely hospital and really special to me. It was a lovely experience.”