Cynthia Mitchell on Hass Burn Cottage Maternity Home
Just after the Second World War in the late 40's to the mid 50's Hass Burn Cottage was the local maternity home. Somewhere between 120 and 150 local children were born in the unassuming cottage, including my Derek. Mrs Currie lived here, the grandmother of Ben Currie who is now Dairyman at Torr Farm. At that time the District Nurse/Midwife was Mrs McNae. Between Mrs McNae and Mrs Currie they provided an excellent service for all those mothers who did not wish to go all the way to Dumfries.
Everyone had their own doctors so doctors would be appearing at the cottage from Kirkcudbright, Castle Douglas and Dalbeattie. Mothers would stay at the cottage for 10 to 14 days. Sometimes her daughter, Annie McGaw, used to come in and help her, otherwise she did everything herself.
The National Health Service had just started but the cottage was not part of it, so mothers would usually contribute from their maternity benefit. Nurse McNae always attended. Some times, during the night when the baby was due, the doctor would sleep in his car outside the cottage. As the baby arrived the nurse would open the window and call down to the sleeping doctor for any help that might be needed.
She was also a good member of the W.R.I. and the Guild. Eventually, she gave up her maternity work and as the Cresswell Hospital in Dumfries was gaining in popularity so the mothers went there.