Leith Hospital book launch expected to be a crowded affair
Organisers could run out of space at the event.
The arts group that spent months collecting memories from locals are “very, very excited” about the moment that the Leith Hospital Recalled book is unveiled to the public on Friday, October 28.
It has taken months for the Citadel Arts Groups to interview and record the stories of people who used to work or were cared for in Leith Hospital which was considered by many as a pillar of the community until it closed in 1987.
The project was funded by the Leith Benevolent Trust and has received the support of 50 contributors who had various experiences of the place to share.
Excitement for the book spread to Leithers around the world and tales have been sent from as far away as America.
The biggest problem may be responding to the demand for the book. Only 200 have been printed and all contributors are given a copy in way of thanks for their time and effort but enquiries have been flooding in to Liz Hare of the Citadel Arts Group.
She said: “Everybody is very excited, I’m just afraid that there’s not going to be enough space in the room for everyone.
“People are also happy to learn that Laure Paterson will be writing a full-length play inspired by the stories and characters that people have told us about.
“A short scene from the play will be read by three actors at the book launch on Friday and that will be an ideal time for us to get feedback about it and perhaps corrections that should be made.”
The Citadel Arts Group has made a number of funding applications for the play which will go ahead if these are granted.
Nancy Nimmo is 79 years old and worked as a nurse in Leith Hospital in the late 1950s. She said: “It was a special place and I think that’s because it was built for the people by the people of Leith."
The photograph above from 1936 shows one of the book's contributors, Rena Dove dressed up for the annual pagent which passed through Leith every year to raise funds for the running of the hospital.
Nancy worked as a children's nurse but explain that most of the admissions were industrial accidents. She said: “Leith was a really hard working place full of seamen, dockers and ship builders this also meant that there were a lot of accidents but the accident and emergency department down there was first class.”
She added: “I wanted to get involved with the book because I love history and I think it is important to make sure it is recorded. Back in the 80s I went round collecting signatures with Malcolm Chisholm MSP to save it but it didn’t work.”
There is no fixed cost for the book but those who take a copy are asked to make a donation.
The Leith Hospital Recalled book will be launched on Friday, October 28 at 2.45pm in the South Leith Church Hall.