Annie Smith – the Matron

Dear blog reader

This blog post is about a dear family friend, still very missed 30 plus years after her death, who I subsequently discovered was actually a cousin.

When we as a family moved up from Kilmarnock, Ayrshire to Portessie, Banffshire in December 1973 my Mum was rather lonely and my paternal great-grandmother set about looking for people in her circle who would be friends for Mum.

(I always think Mum’s situation was an almost exact reverse of my paternal grandmother’s situation during World War 2 when she moved from Buckpool, Banffshire down to Glasgow to do munitions work and hated that contrast).

My great-grandmother found 2 suitable friendly people in Portessie: Helen Flett ms Reid, a cousin of my great-grandfather, who lived in Stuart Street, 2 streets along from us, and the then retired Matron of Seafield Hospital, Buckpool, Annie Smith, who lived opposite us in George Street.

Our house in George Street, in the photo are me, my Mum, my maternal auntie and my maternal grandparents.

When my maternal grandfather came up to visit us it turned out we had a third connection with Annie Smith, who recognised my grandfather instantly. She had been a nurse in a factory he had worked in. Annie Smith had given my grandfather his first ever ballpoint pen with the warning that, if he got it’s ink on his shirt, it would be very difficult to remove.

Annie Smith moved to Aberdeen after we moved down to Fife and every Summer Mum and I would travel up to Aberdeen to see my her. I remember vividly our last visit when she was in hospital as she was reaching the end of her life.

Annie Smith with me, my Mum and my brother.

As is my family history blogging style, the rest of this blog post will cover Annie Smith’s life events and then the several newspaper articles describing her.


Annie Smith was born on 21st December 1908 at 29 High Shore, Macduff, Banffshire to John Smith, a fisherman, and Annie Lawrence.

In the 1911 census Annie was 3 and still living at 29 High Shore with her parents, her brother John and a servant, Isabella. I’m currently unable to locate the family in the 1921 census.

I shall now explore the newspaper articles about Annie’s career:



Miss Annie Smith, matron of Seafield Hospital, Buckie, for the past 14 years, will retire next month after 40 years in the nursing profession.

Miss Smith, who belongs to Macduff, began her career as a nurse in 1929 at Dundee Royal Infirmary, where she obtained her qualifications in nursing and midwifery.

She was appointed a ward sister at Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen, in 1936, and was there until 1952, apart from five years’ service during World War 2 as an Army nursing sister in Cairo and Malta.


From 1952 to 1954 she was the assistant matron of the maternity hospital at Foresterhill, and she then took over her present post.

During her service at Seafield Hospital the building has been extended and completely reconstructed into a large modern hospital. She was responsible for starting the training school for state enrolled nurses at the hospital 40 years ago.

Miss Smith will spend her retirement in Aberdeen.

Her successor is Miss Alexina MacKinnon, a former hospital matron who is at present serving as a district nursing sister at Staffin, near Portree. Skye.



A Skye woman has been chosen as the new matron of Seafield Hospital, Buckie.

Miss Alexina MacKinnon, at present serving as a district nursing sister at Staffin, near Portree, is a sister of Mr Alexander R MacKinnon, a probation officer at Buckie.

Miss MacKinnon began her training as a nurse in Glasgow in 1940. She served for some years as a sister in Glasgow hospitals and after short spells as second assistant matron at Kettering General Hospital, Northants, and as matron at Royston and District Hospital, Herts., she returned to Foresterhall Hospital, Glasgow as first assistant matron in 1960.


She gave up this post at the end of 1961 to return to Skye for family reasons. In 1963 Miss MacKinnon took up her presen position as a district nursing sister with Inverness County Council.

The present matron at Seafield, Miss Annie Smith, who is retiring at the end of next month, was honoured by Buckie Red Cross detachment last night for her services as their nursing superintendent. At a ceremony in the hospital, she was presented with a nest of coffee tables.



Peacefully, on Saturday, July 6, 1991, at Jasmine Park, City Hospital, Annie Smith (retired matron, Seafield Hospital, Buckie), formerly of 16 Charlie Devine Court, Aberdeen, a dearly beloved sister, aunt and friend. Service at St Andrew’s Cathedral, King Street, Aberdeen, on Wednesday, July 10, at 11am, to which all friends are respectfully invited. Cremation thereafter, private. Resting at St Machar Funeral Directors Rest Rooms, 2 Mealmarket Street, Aberdeen.



A former matron of Buckie’s Seafield Hospital, Miss Annie Smith, has died in hospital in Aberdeen. She was 82.

Born in Macduff, Miss Smith was in the nursing profession for 40 years and had many friends in the Banff and Buckie areas.

After moving to Aberdeen with her parents at an early age, Miss Smith carried out her nursing training in Dundee before taking up a post as a ward sister at Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen in 1936.

She was there until 1952, apart from five years’ service during World War 2 as an Army nursing sister in Cairo and Malta.

From 1952 to 1954, she was assistant matron of the maternity hospital at Foresterhill, before taking up the post at Buckie.

During her 14 years’ service at Seafield Hospital, she was responsible for starting the training school for state enrolled nurses.

A well-known and much respected member of the nursing profession, Miss Smith retired in 1969 and spent her retirement in Aberdeen.

She had been in hospital since December and is survived by an 80-year-old brother in Glasgow, nephew Mr Lawrence Young, Bridge of Don, and other nephews and nieces.

Sources: birth certificate and census entry from the Scotland’s People website, photos in personal possession of Jacqueline Hunter and newspaper articles from the British Newspaper Archive website.

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