Retired detective appeals to find baby girl he helped deliver in Craigentinny nearly 60 years ago

Almost six decades ago a young police officer on duty in Edinburgh was grabbed on the street as he passed by a Craigentinny home and was brought inside to help deliver a baby girl.

By Caitlyn Dewar
Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 12:30 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd November 2020, 12:10 pm

Now, after celebrating his 80th birthday, he still remembers the details like it was yesterday, and wants to trace the girl to find out how her life turned out.

Alex Stewart, the now retired detective, worked as a police officer in the Leith and Portobello districts with Edinburgh City Police from 1959 until 1975.

He recalls that ‘on a cool, bright day, on an unknown date somewhere’ between 1962 and 1967 he set out on his police pedal cycle from his box on Craigentinny Road.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Alex with his wife Isobel, in a photo taken last year.

At around 10am he pedalled for a few moments and had just passed the junction with Craigentinny Avenue when a woman appeared from a communal entrance door to a flat somewhere between 45 and 53 Craigentinny Road.

Alex said: “The woman grabbed hold of me and brought me to a sudden halt and blurted out that I would know what to do and that I should immediately come with her upstairs to her house, where her daughter was in the process of having a baby.

“The lady kept repeating the words, ‘you lads are taught what to do so please come with me and help.’ I agreed, dumped my bicycle, and asked if her daughter’s husband was in the house with the mother-to-be, and to my horror she stated that as soon as her daughter had went into labour, he had ran out of the house, screaming as he went, to see if he could trace the midwife who had apparently been summoned.”

Alex recalls the mother-to-be was on the middle or top floor, and when he arrived she was lying on the bed on top of newspapers with an open fire in the room and there were other women there helping.

Alex as a police officer on duty at Leith Docks in 1961 or 1962

Shortly after Alex’s arrival the woman gave birth to what he described as ‘a gorgeous wee girl’ which he wrapped up and made sure was breathing on her own.

He was also able to tell the woman the fantastic news of her new daughter’s safe arrival.

He added: “She stated that she was so, so pleased as she had previously given birth to three boys - or it may have been two - at different times and now having a wee girl to cherish made her extremely happy.

“At that point, I became a bit alarmed as it was beginning to look as if I would have to complete the procedure of cutting the ‘cord’, but just at that moment, someone in the room shouted, ‘that’s the nurse arriving and she’s coming up the stairs!’ Boy, how mightily relieved I was just at that moment!”

Alex just prior to joining Edinburgh City Police in June 1959

Alex said: “I have no idea whatsoever of the name of the lady concerned and did not have any further contact with the family. I was just doing my job to the best of my ability.

“As I recently celebrated my 80th birthday, it would have been lovely to have found out how the baby girl and the family had progressed in life.”

, If you can help trace the mystery baby, please get in touch with [email protected]

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by Coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.