Improving the fortunes of TB patients...

This week we focus on East Fortune Hospital. During the First World War an airship station and airfield were built in East Fortune, Drem, in East Lothian. After the War there was an upsurge in cases of tuberculosis (TB) and before the development of antibiotics, treatment was best carried out in sanatoriums in countryside air, away from populated areas to prevent the infection of others. The airfield, with its rural location and good road access, therefore was an ideal location for a TB hospital and East Fortune Hospital was duly opened in 1922 using part of the site.

During World War II, East Fortune patients were transferred to an annexe of Bangour General Hospital. From 1956, mentally handicapped children began to be cared for at the hospital and at the same time, concerted efforts in the cities of Scotland to identify and treat the majority of people with TB early resulted in a corresponding reduction in such patients at East Fortune. From 1974, the Hospital came under the control of the North Lothian District of Lothian Health Board and in 1997, East Fortune finally closed and its remaining patients were transferred to Roodlands Hospital, Haddington.
Patients and staff, c.1950s
LHSA’s records consist mainly of patient admission, discharge and death registers and a small number of case notes covering the years 1922 - 1974. Some photographs have also recently been accessioned and the images from approximately the late 1950s show staff and patients gathered round a newly constructed ornamental garden in the grounds of the hospital, with its distinctive huts in the background.
The ornamental garden, c.1950s