"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

What was life like in mental hospitals within the early twentieth century?

When we expect of mental hospitals, images of Gothic Victorian Shelters, or the fluorescent-lit linoleum of contemporary psychiatric wards often involves mind. Many of our ideas about what it was prefer to live and work in these institutions come from movies. One flew over the cuckoo's nest.which portrays mental hospitals as cruel and authoritarian.

These organizations proceed to dominate the UK care landscape. Community Care Act 1990 Permanently closed psychiatric hospitals and moved patients to community settings. All but a number of mental hospitals have been demolished. Converted to residence.

But although these institutions were a vital a part of communities across Britain, we've limited details about what it was prefer to live and work there. An exhibition on History of Cefn Coed Hospital 1932-2018 provides some much-needed insight into what life was like in Swansea. He found that despite cruelty, mistakes and suffering, the hospital was also a wealthy community environment lively, energy and hope.

During the nineteenth century, a Series of Parliamentary Proceedings All counties in Great Britain were required to supply mental asylums. Previously, “poor” lunatics were locked up in workhouses or prisons. Between 1808 and 1890, a network of county asylums emerged that provided increasingly specialized care. Swansea was due to this fact far behind the opposite counties when work finally began on Cefn Coed Mental Hospital in 1914, only to halt again with the outbreak of the First World War.

When work finally resumed in 1929, psychology had evolved into a contemporary and more optimistic field that aimed to Both care and treatment. The term “hospital” has now replaced “asylum”, “nurse” has been replaced by “attendant” and “lunatic” has been replaced by “patient”. Cefn Coed Hospital emerged as an oddity through the war years because it was designed as a Victorian asylum, but opened as a contemporary psychiatric hospital.

Cefn Coed Hospital eventually opened in 1932 on an elevated, 130-acre fenced site west of Swansea. It included a fundamental hospital constructing and convalescent villas, a chapel, bakery, nurse's house and eight cottages for the staff who needed to live to tell the tale site.

During the early years, patients from the local Swansea and Merthyr area were admitted and paid for by the county. Patients were admitted with multiple diagnoses – including psychosis, depression and anxiety disorders – terms that were still evolving in medical parlance. Like many hospitals of the era, it housed elderly individuals with long-term learning disabilities and dementia.

Fresh air therapy is one among the holistic treatments utilized in early twentieth century mental hospitals.
Swansea Bay University Health Board Heritage Team, courtesy of the Swansea Evening Post, The creator provides.

The optimism of this contemporary era was evident in efforts dedicated to holistic treatment and occupational health. Since its opening, a hospital farm was established to supply outdoor activities for patients during their recovery, and to supply a kitchen. In the primary yr of operation, 40 patients and nine horticultural staff cultivated 32 acres of home gardens, 28 acres of decorative gardens and 26 acres of farmland. Sheep, horses and chickens were also kept within the hospital. The hospital farm, together with many others prefer it, closed in 1956 after quite a few parliamentary decisions to defund.

The modernization of mental hospitals not only influenced medical treatment but additionally encouraged a greater deal with occupation and recreation. By the mid-Thirties, mental hospitals in England and Wales hosted cinemas, dances and sports clubs as a part of the hassle. Main part of entertainment and profession Maintenance and repair.

At the guts of Cefn Coed Hospital was the William Owen Hall, an ornate and formal entertainment venue that would accommodate as much as 600 patients for meals, musical performances and dancing, and which also had its own projection room.

William Owen Hall, where cinema screenings and dances were regular entertainment for patients and staff.
Swansea Bay University Health Board Heritage Team, courtesy of the Swansea Evening Post, The creator provides.

Saturday evening cinema screenings became an everyday feature at Cefn Coed. By the Seventies, a motorized disco ball hung in the middle of the hall and an entertainment officer was liable for booking regular performers and bands – including pop group Brotherhood of Men and Welsh singer Max Boyce.

Clive Prior, a nurse in Cefn Coed Interviewed for the exhibition., described weekly dances, live shows, Christmas pantomimes and an annual New Year's Eve dance. These shared social experiences gave a more human dimension to the refugee's life. A temporary entry in a hospital magazine in 1972 describes a tramp's ball, wherein the wards were became a nightclub, with a mock fish and chip bar serving patients fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. were presenting

By the Nineteen Nineties, entertainment declined as budgets dwindled and the main focus shifted away from long-term care. Without proper care, William Owenhall fell into disrepair. The hall was closed about ten years before the remainder of the hospital when the ground collapsed.

The mental hospitals we see today are in a haunted state after years of neglect and a generation of bad press. But behind these images lies a history wealthy with on a regular basis efforts to make institutional life more livable. In the early years of operation, each ward at Cefn Coed had fresh flowers, their very own pet canary, and a supply of books that was modified every fortnight. During this era it was commonplace for mental hospitals to have their very own sports teams, education departments, and art and music classes. With mental health receiving more attention than ever, perhaps Cefn Coed's history of care and community can assist guide future treatments.