Veterans’ charity Erskine celebrates a century of care

Cpl James Ritson, the hospital's first ever patient
Cpl James Ritson, the hospital's first ever patient
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A new book has been published to mark the centenary of the Erskine Hospital .

The book tells Erskine’s story through its people with richly illustrated pen portraits including that of Erskine’s first patient to that of founder, Scottish brain surgeon Sir William Macewen who led the project to establish a new hospital.

Without Sir William Macewen, the hospital would not have been the pioneering establishment which led the world in the design, manufacture and fitting of artificial limbs and made Erskine synonymous with top quality.

Skilled workers from the nearby Clydeside shipyards made the Erskine limbs – with provisional limbs setting a new standard in prosthetics.

Macewen’s reputation, fearlessness and foresight inspired others to rally to the cause.

His formidable leadership galvanised support across all sections of society and drove the project to convert Erskine House (now Mar Hall Hotel). The hospital was ready to receive the first patients just over six months later and by the end of the First World War over 3450 men had been admitted and 2697 wounded ex-servicemen were fitted with artificial limbs.

Since then,Erskine has cared for over 85,000 
ex-servicemen and women and more recently their spouses.

The book also highlights how, at a public meeting held in Glasgow City Chambers on March 29, 1916, the proposal to establish a hospital in the West of Scotland for amputees wounded in battle was approved.

And such was the overwhelming public support for the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, as it was named, that £100,000 was contributed within a few weeks and doubled within the year.

Much has changed in a century, but Erskine’s unparalleled devotion to caring for veterans remains the same today.

○The Erskine Centenary Book – A Century of Care – costs £12 and is available to buy online at shop.erskine.org.uk or phone 0141 300 4904.