Whitekirk & Tyninghame | Healthcare

Most people were with the East Linton practice, although some went to North Berwick and one or two to Dunbar, mainly because of having moved from that area. This was still the case in 2000.

Health in the parish seemed to be of a good standard. Before the war there had been problems with diphtheria and tuberculosis. Arthritis was mentioned as the most common affliction. One lady, who worked on the farms said that the doctor expected this as a normal result of her labours. No one could remember local instances of polio.

Before the health service was introduced one had to be very ill before a doctor was called. The high costs were alarming. One lady remembers her nephew’s operation for the removal of a mastoid to have cost £10.10s.11d! Great gratitude for the health service was expressed.

The children were examined by the school nurse and the school dentist visited as well.

There were no children with obvious mental problems. During the first half of the period the county ran a school for children with learning difficulties in Tyninghame.

On birth

Up to quite a few years after the war babies were born at home. The father-to-be had to cycle to the midwife, who then came out with him on her bike. Later babies were born in Vert hospital in Haddington, and eventually in Edinburgh. There was no memory of any single mother.

On the elderly

Elderly parents no longer able to look after themselves generally lived with one of the family; there was still a horror of the ‘poorhouse’. This attitude changed gradually and in later years old people no longer lived automatically with one of the children. Now most stay as long as possible in their own home with the help of a visiting nurse and / or home help and visits to the day centre in Dunbar. By 2000 the terms ‘old peoples’ home’ or ‘nursing’ home did not evoke the same instinctive terror.

Traditionally, in Tyninghame, social welfare and care of the elderly had all been handled by families or the estate itself – the five houses in Widows’ Row were originally ten, with living room, kitchenette and box bed. If an employee on the estate died, his widow had the house for life. The 12th earl was a caring and unassuming landlord, walking about the village in corduroys and sweater, knocking on people’s doors and asking after their welfare.