A storyteller talks about their experience working in mental health hospitals as part of the Oral Histories project.
you tell me about the artisan yard? Yeah. I've just seen in the museum that there was an artisan yard in the old Stanley Roid, and apparently it goes back to the 18 hundreds. At least that there was an artisan yard, which is in the display says that there was. That's where the workshops were for the woodwork
Mechanics, boot makers, Um, within the hospital, they're all down one yard. Well, the hospital I worked in, which was designed in the 1935 and opening 37 uh, had exactly the same. And that's where I worked
So in the artisan yard, there was, um down the far end was what had been the old male occupational therapy unit. And then there was the electricians workshop, and there was the what had been a tailor's workshop there. Then there was, um, the printers workshop where they used to do all the printing for the hospital on the other side of the yard
Um, when I got there, it was the general stores at the bottom, followed by the woodwork shop, which was full of where the wood where all the carpenters worked. And they had, uh, the woodworking machinery. So they had planes and sores and stuff like that
They're not next one. On from that was our workshop, the Philtres workshop, which had in it, um, lathes, shapers, um, power hacksaws, that kind of stuff. And then what had been the bookmakers shop, which is where my bench was? Because when I went there in 70 for the boot maker had moved, it was no longer there, but we still had his equipment in the in my workshop
So you had if you ever went to Tim, since they have that big row of machines that grind and polish, that machine was still in the workshop, um, as well as things for cutting out heels and the souls and all that heavy duty work, those bits of machine and we're still about, um So my bench was had been part of the that shop. Um, And then there had been the upholsterer, but he had then moved to a bigger workshop. And so he was working there until, um, the mid eighties, and they would repair and recover all the hospital soft furnishings
So do all that kind of stuff that include padded cells. We never had a pet yourself. That's one of the things that run well, kind of prided itself on was that it had never had a padded cell
Um, it was, um, considered a modern hospital. That wouldn't do that. Although there's lots of arguments about whether you should have pat yourselves or not
Because my friend, who I who I met when I was he was training there. He went on to work in France and they were still using padded cells, um, up into the nineties because they thought it was better to have somewhere where someone could go and relieve all their tensions, um, in a safe place rather than having to subdue them and sedate them. You know, um, and we used quite a lot of E c t, um, which was considered in France to be kind of, um, like putting someone in a ring with a boxer
It was not at all. I thought it was a decent form of, um, therapy, but I did some research on it. People who did the e g stuff
Um, they did some surveys in the A. G s of people who have had e c. T
And, uh, they they? Their conclusions were that people didn't lose any short term memory, but they didn't look into people who said that they had lost long term memories due to it. Um, yeah. So it was interesting
Lots of interesting people worked. I think they still do work in a psychiatric unions.