BETHLEM ROYAL HOSPITAL
A Guided Tour
Originally the hospital was near Bishopsgate just outside the walls of the City of London. It moved outside of Moorfields in the 17th century, then to St George’s Fields in Southwark in the 19th century. It’s final destination involved moving to where it is now, Monks Orchard in West Wickham in 1930.
The lakes that used to be a feature of the grounds have now been covered up.
Patients safety had to be put first. Considering some of the states of minds some patients might be in , and medication they might be on, it was deemed to much of a risk, to have lakes.
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 of which went over my head.
I remembered a couple of butterflies names that of : Red Admiral, & Peacock. Dragonflies are some of the other inhabitants to be found in the grounds.
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 the 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.
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. showing you about some of the patients journey from madness to cure.
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.