Lanarkians remember the ‘father’ of obstetric care

Lanarkians remember Dr William Smellie
Lanarkians remember Dr William Smellie

A small group of Lanarkians gathered recently to pay tribute to Dr William Smellie, one of the Royal Burgh’s most famous sons.

He was born just outside Lanark in 1697 and was buried in the Old St Kentigern’s churchyard in 1763.

Currently there is no safe access to his grave, so the memorial service was held in front of the mother and baby statue in the gardens of the Woodstock Medical Practice. This was previously situated in the grounds of the William Smellie Memorial hospital.

Dr. Smellie was a pioneer in the field of obstetrics and is known as ‘the father of midwifery’ and, it is said, due to his practices and modern teachings, the lives of many mothers and babies were saved.

Following the service the group including former members of staff and former patients and friends of ‘The Smellie’ visited the memorial garden in St Kentigern’s churchyard. The memorial stone there was erected some years ago by midwives in tribute to those babies born asleep or lost in early pregnancy.