A picure of the Carleton Maternity Hospital, which delivered and cared for mothers and babies for 55 years, will take pride of place in the antenatal department of Craigavon Area Hospital.
It was presented by members of the local branch of Soroptimists International in memory of the last matron of the hospital, Mrs Elizabeth Mason, known as Miss Brown during her time there.
Elizabeth, known as Lily, who died recently, was a life-long member of Soroptimist International and was committed to improving the lives of women and their families. She left a donation with the charity for Craigavon Area Hospital’s maternity services which has been used to buy the picture of the home.
After the home closed in 1972 she married and in later years moved to Magerafelt.
The presentation was attended by Mrs Mason’s nephews Stephen and Robert Bell and great-niece Rachel.
The Carleton Maternity Hospital opened in 1917 and was Portadown’s only hospital until Craigavon Hospital opened in 1972. Also known as The Carleton Maternity Home from the 1930s, many babies were born there and others born at Lurgan Hospital were transferred to the Carleton to be cared for until mothers and babies were able to go home.
It is currently used as sheltered accommodation for senior citizens. Thanking the Soroptimists for the donation, Roberta Brownlee, chair of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, said, “We are committed to delivering safe, high quality maternity care to women and babies.
“There are approximately 6000 births each year in the Southern Trust and around 4000 of these babies are born in Craigavon Area Hospital.
“We have seen many changes throughout the years as midwifery led and obstetric care have advanced and we are very proud of the maternity facilities now available to mothers both in our hospitals and in the community.”
She added, “We are delighted that the Soroptimists have given us this little bit of history to remind us of how these services have evolved and to pay tribute to the very important role that the Carleton Maternity Hospital and indeed Elizabeth Mason had to play in the lives of many women and babies over the years.”
The picture was created using a photography supplied by local woman Phylis Flanaghan.