A Conversation for Bedlam - The Hospital of St Mary of Bethlehem

What's in a name

Post 1

GreyDesk

When the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust was created back in 1999, there was a real rucus over the name of the Trust. You see in calling it South London etc, the name of Bethlem was lost. And this from the only hospital anywhere whose name had become a word in the English language - bedlam.


What's in a name

Post 2

Felonious Monk - h2g2s very own Bogeyman

Great article, very readable, and rather horrifying.

I can think of a few people around here could probably benefit from a
spell in Bedlam. Anyway, the Bus Shelter is getting a bit full now.


What's in a name

Post 3

Mina

I didn't realise there was a ruccus! They must be very proud of their name. smiley - smiley

Thanks FM - mental health is a big issue, so I tried to be sensitive, while still trying to help people to imagine how bad it must have been. Not only the patients making noise and being treated rather badly, but the terrible state of the hospitals themselves.

The current hospital is in lovely grounds - lots of woodland (I saw a squirrel), and the buildings look in much better condition than they normally are after they have been in one place for this long!


What's in a name

Post 4

Felonious Monk - h2g2s very own Bogeyman

I think what's really frightening is that anybody with a mental illness, be it full-blown psychosis through to mild depression, might have been regarded as beyond redemption and dumped in this place. To be perfectly honest with you, I'm not sure that nowadays our picture of what causes psychiatric illness is that much clearer than it was back then. Instead of chaining people to walls for 14 years we have the chemical cosh, which at best can relieve symptoms without treating the underlying cause. Oh God, I'm beginning to sound moralistic now. Better shut up.


RE: what's in a name

Post 5

Tiaan_Gabi

I believe they should have kept the name Bedlam as a name for the NHS Trust. But if you really think about it, would you use a system named after a 'bedlam - noisy, confused situation' Collins dictionary. I think I'd have a pause for thought!!


RE: what's in a name

Post 6

Mina

I'm not sure if that post was made tongue in cheek, or if somebody didn't read the entry...


RE: what's in a name

Post 7

Felonious Monk - h2g2s very own Bogeyman

The latter, I think. I can't see any other way of getting the cart so firmly stuck in front of the horse.


RE: what's in a name

Post 8

Mina

I'm still pleased that they cared enough to sign up just to post to my entry - that shows some dedication. I'm going to believe that at least they read a little bit. smiley - zen


RE: what's in a name

Post 9

PYLOON

A belated response to your fine article and responses.smiley - biggrin

I work as a volunteer at the Imperial War Museum and will now look at my surroundings very differently.

By coincidence (and just prior to seeing your article) I picked-up an engraving of the original Bedlam building at Portobello Road market (I'd heard about the link between the IWM and the St George's incarnation of Bedlam).

The magnificent facade is surely dramatically incongruous with what conditions were like inside for patients.

Some useless info: The house that Captain Bligh of 'Mutiny on the Bounty' fame, still stands opposite the building.


RE: what's in a name

Post 10

Mina

I've been past the museum, but never been in it. Something I meant to fix last summer when they had their 'dogs of war' exhibition on, and completely failed to get on with.


RE: what's in a name

Post 11

PYLOON

Try and pop-in. I get the impression that some people are put off by the 'imperial' and 'war' part of the name.

It's very much about the 'human experience' surrounding conflict which as a species we seem to find it difficult to shrug off!

The holocaust exhibition is a moving experience.


RE: what's in a name

Post 12

Mina

My son came to see that at the end of last year with his school. He didn't say much about it, but I'd like to get up there this summer.


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What's in a name

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