For many decades, Carluke was home to not one but two hospitals – Law and Roadmeetings – and these two grand institutions have played a part in the lives of many people in Carluke either as staff or patients or perhaps even both. There was a true sense of community within each of these places and Christmas was a special time with staff always doing their best to bring some festive cheer to the patients.
As can be seen in the attached photo of Ward 1 in A Block at Law Hospital in the 1950s, every effort was made to make the wards look festive with trees, fairylights and other decorations. In the early 1950s, the trees were gifted by Lord Clydesmuir, Lt. Colonel J F H Houldsworth, Captain J C Stewart and Major B T Monteith while Smiths Clock Factory in Wishaw made a special annual gift of a toy-laden Christmas tree to the children’s ward.
The spirit of Christmas was continued with various entertainments. Among these was the Christmas Eve tradition of carol singers. Carrying lanterns to light their way, a choir of about fifty nurses and sisters with the matron toured the wards singing carols and hymns. As they entered each ward, the main lights were switched off leaving only the nurses’ lanterns and the tree’s fairylights as the only illumination. Over several evenings, the hospital staff also entertained the patients and staff with a show.
On Christmas morning itself, Santa ( for many years, alias Jim Taylor from the Board of Management ) ably assisted by the Christmas Angel made an appearance in the wards to hand out gifts provided from hospital funds. Later in the day, of course, the patients welcomed their visitors and enjoyed a special Christmas dinner.
Do you recognise any of the people in the photos or do you have any photos or memories of Christmas in either Law or Roadmeetings? We would love it if you would share them with us.