A Student visit

June 7th, 2013 by Admin Leave a reply »

On the 21st of May we had another group of students visit Whitchurch Hospital for some historical talks and a tour around some of the grounds and hospital.

The visit was part of a history of psychiatry week for the Cardiff University year 3 special study module on the History of Medicine organised by Dr Simon Braybrook

The course is an eight week module devoting a week each to the method of general historical enquiry, the history of sexual and reproductive health, the history of psychiatry, the history of epidemiology, the history of medical education and the history of surgery. The format will be a mix of lectures, field visits and personal reading and study.

Outside the front entrance

Outside the front entrance


Dr George Kirov started the day with a very interesting presentation on the history and development of ECT and psycho-surgery. Tim Goosey did a presentation with Dr Ian Beech on the history of Whitchurch.  Lynne from the historical society attended and contributed interesting and helpful accounts to the morning. The visit was finished with a trip to the hall and a walk round the outside pointing out the ha ha fence and the water tower in relation to Enoch Powell’s water tower speech, featured here and mentioned by Dr Braybook as a turning point in mental health history.

This is from Cane Hill’s website which is very impressive. http://www.canehill.org/history/enoch-powells-1961-speech – website now added to our Links page

In the afternoon Dr Brayboook showed the students The Madness of King George, in part to illustrate that mental illness does not take account of class.

Thank you to all who contributed to the visit

Sorry to take so long to write this post.



  1. Simon Braybrook says:

    What a wonderful day we had. History of medicine is one of the longest running and most popular special study modules in the curriculum. As well as being an opportunity to understand the origins of our vocation and our place in history, it is a rare opportunity to examine the humanities in medicine and appreciate our vocation as an art as well as a science.

    The week did not finish and end with our trip to Whitchurch. We also had not one but two experts on WW1 and shell shock talk to us. Our academic F2 presented a history of biological psychiatry, we examined the role of psychoanalysis in bridging the gap between the asylum era and the age of psychopharmacology, and explored the role of the antipsychiatry movement in leading to deinstitutionalisation, by way of another film, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

    But the jewel in the crown of the history of psychiatry week is always the visit to Whitchurch. No amount of study of Enoch Powell’s speech can compare to standing in the shadow of that “brooding water tower and chimney combined” and walking through the old farm and dance hall reminds us that the asylum was a place of sanctuary, not just suffering.

    The students continue their 8 week programme of the history of medicine but they are indebted to the staff and patients of Whitchurch hospital and Whitchurch historical society in particular for bringing history alive to them in this way.

    See you next year!

    Simon Braybrook
    Associate academic fellow
    Cardiff university school of medicine

  2. Rachael Parker says:

    Thank you very much for such an inspiring day. Being able to see and discuss the history of Whitchurch is a rare and unique opportunity to explore the controversial history of psychiatry. Combined with our other speakers and research that week psychiatry has definitely become a specialty of interest. Thank you!

  3. Kueni Igbagiri says:

    On behalf of the 3rd year medical students that visited the hospital I would like to extend our gratitude to the talks and hospitality provided by the staff at the hospital. It was both an educational and enjoyable experience. Definitely a beneficial visit for future medical students involved in this student selected component.

    Kueni Igabgiri
    3rd year Medic.

  4. Harry Ahmed says:

    Thank you to everyone at Whitchurch Hospital for your enthusiasm and efforts with the History of Medicine students. I have had great feedback from the students about their visit, which they felt was interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks again.

    Harry Ahmed
    Academic Fellow, Cardiff University.

  5. Admin says:

    Dear Harry
    Thank you and all the other comments about the history visit to the hospital. I was so sorry to miss the visit, hope to be there next year.



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