Archive for the ‘Superintendents’ category

Dr Edwin Goodall – The First Medical Superintendent

July 30th, 2011


Edwin Goodall was the first medical superintendent of Cardiff City Mental Hospital (Whitchurch Hospital). He was appointed in 1906, two years before the hospital was opened and retired in 1929.

Dr Goodall trained as a doctor at Guy’s Hospital in London before pursuing further training in Germany at the University of Tübingen where he was a contemporary of Alois Alzheimer. Before moving to Cardiff, Dr Goodall was Assistant Medical Officer and Pathologist at the West Riding Asylum in Wakefield before becoming Medical Superintendent at the Joint Counties Asylum in Carmarthen. In Carmarthen he achieved the notable feat of learning Welsh in six months. His appointment in Cardiff followed a rigorous selection process in which forty-two candidates had applied.

Dr Goodall’s achievements in Cardiff were many. He co-authored a textbook Insanity and Allied Neuroses with the eminent London psychiatrist, Sir George Savage. He founded a very strong research team that pre-empted the establishment of the Medical Research Council Unit that flourished well into the 1980s. His team was responsible for many research papers investigating the biological basis for mental disorders.

Personal recognition came by way of his being appointed co-editor of the Journal of Mental Science (now the British Journal of Psychiatry). He served two terms as President of the Neurology and Psychiatry Section of Royal Society of Medicine (1911 and 1928) and a term as President of the Medico-Psychological Association (now the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1923). In 1914 he gave a series of prestigious Croonian lectures to the Royal College of Physicians and in 1927 delivered the eighth Maudsley Lecture to the Royal Medico-Psychological Association.

In his work in the hospital Dr Goodall  developed a career structure for male Nurses rather than seeing them as merely attendants and was the first Medical Superintendent in England and Wales to introduce the nursing of male patients by female nurses.

In 1915 the hospital was handed over to the military authorities for the care and treatment of wounded soldiers. Appointed a Lieut-Colonel in the RAMC he was Officer in Charge of the now Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital and developed treatment for soldiers suffering from shellshock. For this work he was awarded he CBE in 1919.

After the First World War the hospital returned to civilian use and Dr Goodall developed the first outpatient department outside of London in the King Edward VIIth Hospital (Cardiff Royal Infirmary). In line with this increased link with general medicine Dr Goodall was appointed the firs Lecturer in Mental Disorders at the Welsh National Medical School. His research at this time was fundamental in providing treatment to prevent the neurological problems associated with syphilis infection.

On his retirement in 1929 Dr Goodall was praised by the hospital as a pioneer in psychiatry and a great leader of the discipline whose career in Cardiff was something which was a source of great pride to his hospital.

Thanks to Ian Beech for this post

The First Medical Superintendent – Dr Edwin Goodall

April 17th, 2010


This photograph was recently found by Chris Newport when clearing some offices, we had not seen this portrait of Dr Goodall before.

Thank you Chris for rescuing it.

Physician Superintendent – Dr. Joseph P. Spillane

January 9th, 2010



Dr. Joseph Spillane took up the post of Physician Superintendent the same year as the Mental Health (1959) was introduced.

This was also the beginning of a new decade.  The sixties were revolutionary in so many ways in music, politics, science and technology.

For the mental health services in Cardiff, it meant the diversification and development of a range of new specialised services.

Thanks to Tim Goosey for this post

Medical Superintendent – Dr. Thomas J. Hennelly

January 9th, 2010


Dr. Thomas J. Hennelly took up post as Medical Superintendent after being Deputy to his predecessor, Dr. Peter McCowan.

Two years later the World War II broke out and the hospital was once again taken over by the War Office for the treatment of military casualties.

A reduced service was retained for the mentally ill.

In the brave new world that followed the war, the Whitchurch Hospital became absorbed into the National Health Service in 1948.  The hospital fell under the direction of the new Whitchurch and Ely Hospital Management Committee, many of whom had been members of the old Visiting Committee.

Dr. Hennelly, who had assumed the NHS title of ‘Physician Superintendent’, wrote these words at the time:

‘In a changing world…we need hardly fear that the transfer of ownership will be in any degree revolutionary or that for a long time, such is the state of the world, the shortage of beds and of medical personnel, any great improvement in medical services will result.’

Thanks to Tim Goosey for this post

Medical Superintendent – Dr Peter McCowan

January 8th, 2010

Dr McCowan


Dr. Peter McCowan held the post of Medical Superintendent after Dr. Goodall.  Like his predecessor, he was keen to maintain the individuality of the patient and avoid the dangers of institutionalisation.  His appointment coincided with the implementation of the Mental Treatment Act (1930), which replaced the Lunacy Act (1890).  The new act allowed for the first time voluntary admission to mental hospital.

Thanks to Tim Goosey for this post

Medical Superintendent – Dr Edwin Goodall

October 27th, 2009


The first Medical Superintendent of Cardiff City Mental Hospital was Dr Edwin Goodall.

Edwin Goodall was born 1863 in Calcutta and was the son of a solicitor.  He qualified as Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at Guy’s Hospital in 1886 then went to work in Tübingen in Germany where he was a contemporary of Alois Alzheimer, after whom Alzheimer’s disease was named.

In 1906, Dr. Edwin Goodall was appointed Medical Superintendent of Cardiff City Lunatic Asylum and charged with commissioning the new institution.  Later that year he addressed the South West Wales Division of the BMA as Chairman, with a paper about the Hospital Treatment of Curable Cases of Mental Disorder. He advocated development of acute and chronic hospitals and out patient treatment in general hospitals, a theme he regularly returned to throughout his career. He also proposed a change to the law so that marriage to anyone released from an asylum became punishable by law.

The post of Medical Superintendent brought with it not only responsibility for the doctors and nurses, but also the small army of technical and administrative staff that were required to run the hospital on a day to day basis.  Every piece of correspondence at the time was copied to Dr. Goodall.

Thanks to Tim Goosey for this post