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Mansions in the Orchard


The Mansions in the Orchard project, funded by a Wellcome Trust People Award for Public Engagement, ran from September 2013 until March 2015. Bethlem Museum of the Mind carried out new historical research and documentation, alongside public activities, addressing the largely undocumented twentieth-century history of inpatient mental health care through the Bethlem Royal Hospital’s current site, opened in 1930.

This resource allows you to explore Bethlem at Monks Orchard through new photographs of the site, a collection of oral history interviews and donations of photographs and archive material. The full collection is available in our Archives by appointment.

Oral History


Susan was admitted to Bethlem at the age of 15 in 1967 and was there for 6 months before being transferred to Bexley Hospital. Here she speaks about the transfer.


Mary came to Bethlem in 1972 as a trainee nurse therapist, doing a new course begun by Isaac Marks. She is now a professor of mental health nursing at St George’s. When she first came to Bethlem she lived onsite at Dower House.


Alwyn was a consultant psychiatrist at the Joint Bethlem and Maudsley Hospitals until his retirement. He arrived at the Maudsley Hospital as a trainee in 1960 and lived onsite at Bethlem in staff housing.


Jackie was admitted to the Charles Hood Unit, a therapeutic community at Bethlem, in 1974 and stayed for nearly a year in total. Here she talks about life in the unit.


Rhiannon, Sarah, Irene and Edelweiss were all post-registration nurses who trained at the Bethlem and Maudsley hospitals in the late 1960s. They all lived onsite at Bethlem. Here they talk about the relation of the site to its purpose.


Brian started at Bethlem as a student nurse in 1952. In 1960 he became the first man to be promoted to Charge Nurse at Bethlem. Here he talks about working at Witley House in the 1960s.

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