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Stop 4: Health Services for Women and Children - Agnes Thomson (1880-1952) Clementina Esslemont OBE (1864-1958) Fenella Paton (1901-1945) and Mary Esslemont (1891-1984)
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Stop 4: Health Services for Women and Children - Agnes Thomson (1880-1952) Clementina Esslemont OBE (1864-1958) Fenella Paton (1901-1945) and Mary Esslemont (1891-1984)

Historic Photographs
David Oswald
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Historic Photographs
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Stop 4: Health Services for Women and Children - Agnes Thomson (1880-1952) Clementina Esslemont OBE (1864-1958) Fenella Paton (1901-1945) and Mary Esslemont (1891-1984)
The first sick children's hospital on site of former Naval Surgeon's Dr Blaikie surgery on 6-8 Castle Terrace in 1877 extended to take in Castle Brae Chapel. An unsung heroine that worked on this site is Dr Agnes Thomson (nee Baxter) a graduate from Aberdeen University who served as an anaesthetist at the Sick Children's and Maternity Hospitals during the First World War. Agnes Thomson was instrumental in founding the Aberdeen Mother and Baby Home and volunteered her services to the Mother and Child Welfare Association, which was established to address the shockingly high death rate of babies and toddlers in the east end of Aberdeen.

Throughout her life, Clementina Esslemont OBE was a champion of liberal ideas and good causes and well known for her no-nonsense approach to social service provision. One of her principal achievements was the foundation of the Aberdeen Mother and Child Welfare Association in 1909, which played an important role in social service and public health provision in the City of Aberdeen until the creation of the Public Health Department in 1949. She was also involved in the establishment of a model block of tenements on the Spital, Aberdeen, in the formation of Aberdeen Lads' Club, St Katherine's Club, and the nursery school movement.

Dr Mary Esslemont, one of Clementina Esslemont's daughters, worked as a Gynaecologist at the hospital. Mary did much to improve the care and wellbeing for mothers and babies with her determination and hard work. As well as being the Gynaecologist she also ran prenatal and family planning clinics. Mary was an advocate of women's rights, health education and family planning. She was the first female president of the Student University Council and the first woman to be president of Aberdeen Liberal Association in 1954. Awarded the CBE in 1955, Aberdeen City Council bestowed the Freedom of the City of Aberdeen in 1981.

Aberdeen has also led the way in family planning with a remarkable woman at the forefront of fertility control. Pioneer Fenella Paton opened Aberdeen's first family planning clinic in 1926 at Gerrard street. The clinic, the first of its kind in Scotland, moved to new premises in Castle Street in 1948. But prior to these clinics and innovations in family planning there were large families and mothers that needed to go out to work and at our next stop an initiative was put in place to help these working women.

Memories:
Norma Michie speaking about Mary Esslemont
Audrey's memories of the Family Planning Clinic
Denise's memory of the Family Planning Clinic
Heather's memories of Ina Lawrence and the Children's Hospital
Alma Duncan's memories of Cocky Hunters
Castle Terrace
Aberdeen Women's Alliance
AWA01_02
Image courtesy of NHS Grampian Archives
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