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Staff Change at the Archives and Museum

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Dr Thomas Monro (1759 - 1833). A Temple by a River

Our visit to the Imperial War Museum’s Dome Chapel a few months ago ago marked a major change in the life of the Archives and Museum: the retirement of the Head of Archives and Museum, J. Michael Phillips. Michael has headed the museum for over seven years, leading us through an increase in visitor numbers, education and outreach services, and ensuring the Archives and Museum became fully integrated into the Hospital’s efforts to increase public understanding of, and destigmatise mental illness.

Michael has also headed the Archives and Museum’s relocation Steering Group, raising funds for the new Archives and Museum. His successor, Victoria Northwood, will take over this project as we move towards our fundraising target and develop plans for the new museum. Victoria has previously worked at the Globe Theatre, where exhibitions around last year's Bedlam play explored links between art, theatre and mental health. We are sorry to see Michael leave, and wish him a long and happy retirement, but look forward to a new and exciting era, with the relocation now seemingly in sight.

In the Dome, Michael kindly presented the Archives and Museum with a new addition to the collection - one of the few artists from the Hospital’s history not already represented - a sketch, by Dr Thomas Monro, which may appear in a future In the Frame post. Monro, the third of his family to occupy the position of Bethlem Physician, was physician from 1787 until his resignation in 1816, following the investigation of the Select Committee into Bethlem the previous year. However, Monro was also well-known as an art collector, being a patron of many well-known artists, as well as an amateur artist himself.