This week’s blog features two examples of Fortunemagazine (LHB39/8/11-12) from the 1950s, an occasional publication by East Fortune Hospital in Drem, East Lothian. The hospital was founded on the site of a former World War One naval airship station in 1922 and was used as a tuberculosis sanatorium and then later to look after children and adults with learning difficulties as the numbers of tuberculosis patients declined in the late 1950s. It finally closed in 1997.
The magazines claim to be for patients and the local community and each contains a substantial collection of articles, poetry and letters by staff and patients. Patients being treated for tuberculosis would often spend long periods resting in bed in reasonable health and would be grateful of something interesting to read. Typical article subjects include trips abroad and war stories. The 1955 issue includes a double-page spread of caricatures of the hospital staff!
Both magazines feature striking screen printed colour covers. The one from 1955 is of the Bass Rock, a well-known landmark and bird sanctuary which can be seen along the coastline of East Lothian and Fife and is by Jemima Rennie.
Cover of the 1955 edition (LHB39/8/11)
The 1957 cover by George Millar features a glum looking individual with a walking stick and hunched posture entering what probably represents one of the huts which made up East Fortune Hospital in the upper picture.
Cover of the 1957 edition (LHB39/8/12)
In the lower section, the same man is seen striding out of the hospital relieved of his infirmities. Although tuberculosis is often thought of as a lung disease it can also affect the bones and in particular the spine. The picture shows the level of confidence the hospital staff had that some of their patients could be fully restored and become productive members of society again. As the Countess of Haddington wishes readers in the 1955 foreword, ‘good fortune and health in the years to come’.