Archive for the ‘Photos’ category

Looking back at Ely Hospital: How inquiry rocked the nation

January 25th, 2012

Officials inspect a men's ward at Ely Hospital

Former patients and staff have come together to tell the inside story of Ely Hospital for a new exhibition at the Cardiff Story museum. All this week, CLARE HUTCHINSON looks at the forgotten history and fascinating stories uncovered by learning disability group Cardiff People First, starting with a history of the institution

IN 1967, a long-stay hospital for people with learning disabilities hit the headlines in a way which had rarely happened before.

Ely Hospital, built in 1862 as a Poor Law institution and converted to a long-stay NHS hospital in 1948, was hit with allegations of endemic maltreatment of its patients, including cruelty, verbal abuse, beatings, stealing of food, clothes and other items, indifference to complaints, lack of medical care and medication used to sedate patients.

“We must never forget,” said one former resident who lived in the hospital for most of her life. “It was a terrible place”.

The subsequent Ely Inquiry in 1969 exposed a hospital cut off from the mainstream, with little or no staff training and overcrowded wards. A White Paper followed in 1971, which eventually led to a total transformation in the way people with learning disabilities are cared for.

Labour AM for Cardiff West and Cardiff University professor Mark Drakeford is an expert on the Ely Inquiry. “It was very shocking at the time,” he said.

“It was the first major hospital scandal of the post-war period and it really hit the headlines, both locally and nationally. Part of the scandal was that these were bad things going on in a hospital, which was supposed to be a place where people were cared for.”

It would be almost another three decades until Ely Hospital finally shut its doors and its patients were resettled in the surrounding community.

In total there were 18 reports between 1968 and 1980 in which allegations of maltreatment of patients were investigated in what were then known as ‘mental illness’ and ‘mental handicap’ hospitals.

Prof Drakeford said: “Politically, the biggest impact it had was that an advisory review was set up as a result of the report, which could go in and look at the quality of medical care that was being offered in long-stay hospitals.

“There is always a need for vigilance where institutions are concerned because they can become isolated.

“In any institution there is a tendency for it to become a bit inward looking and cut off from the standards that are expected elsewhere, which is why regular inspection and visits are so crucial. The big thing that it did was it started the movement for closure on a path that means that today there are almost no institutions like this anywhere in the UK.”

Tomorrow: What day-to-day life at Ely Hospital was like, as told by those who were there.

Apologies that the Ely articles do not appear in the same order as they were on Wales on line webiste

Introducing Laura

November 28th, 2011


I have just finished my MA in Heritage Management at the Ironbridge Institute, a part of the University of Birmingham dedicated to museum and heritage studies, and it was during this course that I developed an interest in the history of mental health and illness, especially institutional care. Originally I wanted to look at how museums interpret former asylums for a short research project, but some cursory research revealed that they are criminally under-represented in museums, as is the history of mental health in general. I decided to save this subject and make it my thesis.

I wanted my thesis to be useful, and to make something of a difference if possible. I did a lot of research into the current landscape of psychiatric buildings in the UK, and found them to be ill-protected, and treated in a manner that would never be tolerated for an historic house or other building. This is what lead me to Whitchurch – I wanted to see if the twin problems of a lack of museum provision and a lack of protection for a magnificent buildings could be planned for ahead of a building’s closure. I’m Cardiff born and bred, so it was not long before I thought of Whitchurch hospital – not only a magnificent building (exemplary in Wales and in a wider national context) but also home to a very forward-thinking approach to mental healthcare at the turn of the twentieth century. My thesis, “A Market for Madness?” primarily looked at the potential for Whitchurch to be preserved as a heritage site and the market potential of such a museum – I conducted several blind surveys online, and the results were incredibly interesting. My thesis would not have been possible without much help from Gwawr, for which I am very grateful.  I’m really encouraged by the attitude of the Whitchurch Historical Society – enthusiasm for the history of a place is often the hardest thing to come by, and it is the only way psychiatric institutions are being preserved currently. I hope to do some more work with the WHHS, and I hope I can help in some small way.

I am hoping to look more at Whitchurch in the near future – starting with a few more pieces for this blog on my research so far. Also, I’m currently working at the Science Museum in London, primarily with the psychological collections (which include a rulebook from Whitchurch’s early days) and I’m applying to Ironbridge for funding for a PhD starting in 2012, looking in much greater depth at what Museums need to do to bring their interpretation of mental health and illness up to speed, because nowhere near enough is being done yet.

Thanks to Laura for this first installment

Mystery photo – what is this?

October 31st, 2011

Came across this item recently, can anyone work out what it is? Thanks to Steve Harris for bringing it along to the Hospital

Mystery object

Ladies in the Dispensary…

October 4th, 2011

This photo I believe was taken around about 1983 for the 75th Anniversary of the hospital.

The lady on the left is Mrs Audrey Lewis who worked in the pharmacy from the early 1970ies until the mid eighties – thanks to David Lewis, Audrey’s son for the information.

The lady on the left is Mrs Helen Hilling who worked in the pharmacy until the 1990ies when she retired.

Mystery Photo

Do you recognise these ladies?

August 23rd, 2011

Does anyone know who these ladies are and which department they are working in?

Which year was it taken?

Get in touch if you do…

Mystery Photo

Mystery Photo

Dr Dafydd Huws (1936 – 2011)

August 3rd, 2011
Dr Dafydd Huws

Dr Dafydd Huws

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of Dr Dafydd Huws at the age of 75.
Dafydd was appointed Consultant Psychiatrist at Whitchurch Hospital in 1971 and retired in 1996. He had been a medical student in Cardiff and also undertaken his post graduate training in the Cardiff area.
His consultant responsibilities including looking after the day hospital at Tegfan, as well as providing general psychiatric care to an adult population. Prior to retirement he had been clinical director and subsequently medical director to the Cardiff Community NHS Trust.
It is almost impossible to condense into a few paragraphs his life and work as a psychiatrist, as well as conveying something of the person and character that he was. His energy and enthusiasm permeated everything that he did. Dafydd had a special interest in eating disorders and psychosomatic illness. He never failed to be intrigued by the different ways people and personalities presented their illness. He was genuinely interested in the human condition and how we cope with stress and adversity. His approach was not always conventional, but he was usually successful, I think its fair to say that he would not have felt comfortable working in today’s managed care system.
One of his strengths was as a communicator; He often used analogy to explain concepts. One of the more enduring in explaining psychosomatic illness  being the overfull suitcase, which if the contents were not allowed to bulge out of the front, would manifest as pressure in a different part of the container. He was in demand as a lecturer and speaker, but also by the media who sought his view when any story of a psychiatric relevance broke.
He was a great mentor for any young psychiatrist, and always ready with good advice, one of his favourites was the assertion that the secret of a long career in psychiatry was to do something completely different – and he did that with gusto.  He was an active member of Plaid Cymru, their first councilor in Cardiff, and one time party chairman. He ran several farms, and enjoyed relating the story and how he used to bring back orphaned lambs from his farm near Aberystwyth and keep them in the residency in medical quarters during the working week, and the great lengths he would go to in order to dodge the cleaner. His interest in renewable  energy he later turned into a business, owning and running one of the first wind farms in Wales.
Dafydd perhaps more than anything else was a proud Welshman, and was unflinching in his support of the language and culture, this naturally extended to his patronage of the Welsh Psychiatric Society and y Gyndeithas Feddygol. He had a keen intellect and wrote Welsh poetry and enjoyed nothing better during work breaks than discussing philosophy and theology with his colleagues.
During his final illness he did a radio programme. Interviewed in Welsh he talked about his life and career. He talked very openly about his cancer and how it had affected him, but commented that he would not have wished to have lived without it. He felt that the experience had in many ways changed him and enriched his being – a comment typical of the man who could see the positive and value in most things.
His funeral took place in Bow Street, Aberystwyth on the 9th of July. He leaves a widow Rhian, and five children, two of whom have followed him into the medical profession.

Thanks to Dr John Lewis for this post

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

Visit of 3rd Year Medical Students to the Hospital

June 28th, 2011

Last Thursday the 23rd of June a group of 3rd year medical students visited Whitchurch Hospital as part of a History of Medicine SSC (Student Selected Components) course. We had an interesting morning starting off with a talk from Tim Goosey looking at the history of the Hospital, followed by some information on medication over the years by Gwawr Faulconbridge. We moved to the boardroom for coffee and a look at the artifacts there. Next in the plan was a tour of the grounds but the rain put a temporary stop to that so we made our way to the main hall. The rain had stopped for a moment so we made the most of it and had a brief tour of the East side of the Hospital. We then had a tour of the ECT department where Dr Maria Atkins gave a talk on this treatment. The morning was nicely finished with a talk on the history of ECT by Dr Maria Atkins.

Thank you to all who were involved in organising this event, Dr Katie Phillips, Dr Maria Atkins and Tim Goosey.

Tim's talk

Tim's talk

The Display

The Display

The Water Tower

The Water Tower

The East Side Of The Hospital

The East Side Of The Hospital

Dr Maria Atkins talk

Dr Maria Atkins talk

The Tour

The Tour

Article from the South Wales Echo – June 10th 2011

June 28th, 2011

Celebration: Ex-nurse celebrates 100th birthday

Ex-nurse Myfanwy Lewis has spent a lifetime looking after others but was on the receiving end of some love, care and attention when she turned 100.

Myfanwy, from Rhiwbina, Cardiff, celebrated with friends at the Gabalfa Day Centre, which she has visited three times a week for the past six years.

As well as a celebration with her family, the staff at the centre – where Myfanwy enjoys bingo and quizzes – had organised a buffet and flowers for her.

Myfanwy was born in Willesden Green, London, but moved to Welshpool in Powys when she was seven.

She later came to Cardiff when she began training and working as a psychiatric nurse at Whitchurch Hospital. During World War II, she played a vital role serving her country after psychiatric patients were moved out and injured servicemen from the Battle of Dunkirk were treated there.

But fun-loving Myfanwy said they still managed to have a good time, despite the ongoing war effort. She said: “Some of them were upset and distressed.

“But some of them were quite funny – and well enough to go to the Hollybush pub. “We looked after them and used to take them over the Hollybush for a drink.”

At the end of the war, Myfanwy was wed to husband Roy and they set up home on College Road, Whitchurch. Myfanwy briefly gave up nursing after having two sons, David, 64, and Richard, 61.

But in 1957 the family moved to Llanishen and Myfanwy resumed her career, becoming a private night nurse in Cyncoed.

Later, she worked as a sales assistant in Howells department store until she retired. In 1997, Roy passed away and Myfanwy now lives with son David in Rhiwbina.

She says turning 100 “doesn’t feel any different”. “I very much enjoyed the celebration they put on for me at the day centre,” she said.

“But turning 100 doesn’t feel any different. I don’t feel any different at all.”

Thanks to Julia Harper for spotting this article in the Echo.

Some Recent Pictures from Whitchurch

May 14th, 2011

Below are photos of a series of plaques hanging on the wall near the entrance of the Hospital, does anyone know their history?

Sir Edward Hain

Sir Edward Hain

Lord Glanely

Lord Glanely

Thomas H. Mordey

Thomas H. Mordey

Philip & Lewis Robert Turnbull

Philip & Lewis Robert Turnbull

Richard B. Chellew

Richard B. Chellew

Second Lieut W H Seager

Second Lieut W H Seager

The Duncan Bed

The Duncan Bed

Shandon Bed

Shandon Bed