BETHLEM ROYAL HOSPITAL
A Guided Tour
Originally the hospital was near Bishopsgate just outside the walls of the City of London. It then moved outside of Moorfields in the 17th century, after that it moved to St George’s Fields in Southwark in the 19th century. It’s final destination involved moving to (the current destination ) Monks Orchard in West Wickham in 1930.
The lakes that used to be a feature of the grounds have now been covered up.
It is essential that patients safety had to be put first. Considering some of the states of minds patients might be experiencing from mania to sucide, and many on heavy doses of medication it was deemed to be too much of a risk, and to this day they no longer have lakes. It seems a pity, that they can’t find away to keep the lakes in a secure way.
Medicine and Nature
A place where diverse nature exists, plants such as Dog Rose, St John’s Wort (said to be useful in aiding depression). Beetles such as Grasshopper, Green Shield Bug, as well as Butterflies. The tour guide mentioned many species of natural wild life, many names he mentioned went over my head, I was somewhat distracted by my own thoughts about mental illness and cures.
Obviously depending on where you live will depend on how easy it is to get there, but the nearest train station is Eden Park and to get to Monks Orchard Road ,where Bethlam Hospital is located, is only a ten-minute walk.
The word “bedlam”, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from the hospital’s nickname. Although the hospital became a modern psychiatric facility. Historically it was representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform.
Museum of the Mind
The museum showcases many collections in its permanent and temporary exhibition galleries. They also hold a collection of art including works by Louis Wain. I have always loved his crazy cats drawings. I had no idea he had been a resident at this institute. We live and learn. See the link for further details about Louis Wain.
Alongside the permanent displays, the museum has a dedicated temporary exhibition space. It offers a changing and thought-provoking seasonal programme.There are plenty of artefacts and interactive media displays to get engaged with. The museume helps in showing you about some of the patients journey from madness to cure. There has always been an arguement about how to deal with patient’s experiencing mania or suicidal tendancies. The space allows you to reflect on those cures, or restraings and lets you decide for yourself.
For further information check out The Museum of the Mind’s website, go on to the link below. I recommend the tour and tickets are only £5 for both the tour of the gardens and the museum.
To book tickets for the Bethlem Hosptial tour online go onto https://www.eventbrite.co.uk
Until next time keep on, keeping on.