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Thread: Rainhill Hospital

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    Newbie silverstealth's Avatar
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    Arrow Rainhill Hospital

    The Lancashire County Lunatic Asylum was erected on Rainhill Road in Prescott and opened on the 1st January 1851.

    In 1858 it had 400 patients.

    It was a stone building, and was enlarged in 1860 and again in 1886 by the erection of an annexe available for 1,000 patients, at a cost of ?200,000, from designs by Mr. G. E. Grayson, architect of Liverpool.
    Built to the Corridor Plan.

    By 1900 the total number of patients was 2,029.

    By 1936 it was said to be the largest psychiatric hospital in Europe with a total of 3,000 patients.

    It was named Rainhill Hospital under the National Health Service.

    It closed in June 1992.

    I have located a lengthy video taken in bits from the 1970's upto closure.

    Having edited the video which is poor quality I have managed to save enough for 3 interesting clips.


    YouTube - Rainhill Hospital Gala 1970

    Rainhill Hospital Gala Part 1

    YouTube - Rainhill Hospital Gala 1970 - 1973 part 2


    ADVERTISING




    Rainhill Hospital Gala part 2

    YouTube - Rainhill hospital 1992 The Empty Wards

    The Empty Wards Circa, 1992 I believe.

    The quality is pretty lousy but I think the fact its so rare compensates.

    I hope you enjoy the footage as much as I have.

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    I've worked with former patients of Rainhill, and mostly, they have surprisingly fond memories of the place( as well as some not so nice1) I think the powers that be, might be regretting, in some ways, that they got rid of it, and others like it!?

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    Who? Last Of The Timelords's Avatar
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    My great grandmother ended up in Rainhill for 35 years in the 1920's with nothing more than post-natal depression so I have great interest in the place, and in how society treated mental illnesses with nothing more, it seems to me, than a lock and key.

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Last Of The Timelords View Post
    My great grandmother ended up in Rainhill for 35 years in the 1920's with nothing more than post-natal depression so I have great interest in the place, and in how society treated mental illnesses with nothing more, it seems to me, than a lock and key.
    Well,L.OT.T.,
    I'm no expert, but until the introduction of anti-psychotic drugs,in the late 50's/early 60's, there was little alternative! Also, some of the definitions of mental incapability,have changed quite dramatically,since then. "Feeblemindedness",was one of these,which on diagnosis,could mean your incarceration in a place like Rainhill.Some examples of this might be, your gran's depression,having an illegitemate child, staying off school persistantly, petty crime,etc, which today wouldn't even be considered! Iknow one guy,who's wife was in mental hospital for 17 yrs, till being re-diagnosed with a thyroid conditionShe's glad to be out and about now!!

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    Senior Member naked lilac's Avatar
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    Those videos were compelling to watch.. especially the last one of the empty wards.. I thought the music of Gerry and the Pacemakers was well thought out in that video.. Made one really think, how lucky being sound we are...

    What happened to close it.? And where did they relocate these people..?

    I remember my mum taking me and my sister, at about 7 years old.., to view people that were basically retarded.. and put in a hospital for their life..Some, mind you, were total vegetables, and living strapped to a bed.. Very sad indeed...
    She wanted to show us how lucky we were.. and how to be compassionate for the less fortunate.. It will never leave my thoughts..

    I often walk past homeless people muttering to themselves..Society says .... they are crazy.. Yet, maybe they aren't as crazy.. cause they are free, and not held behind doors in a lunatic asylum.. Very interesting topic.. Thanks for your archives..

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    Senior Member phredd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naked lilac View Post

    What happened to close it.? And where did they relocate these people..?
    I think it was "Care in the Community" that closed both Rainhill & Winwick.
    Newsham General (Belmont Road Hosp as it then was) had two Psychiatric wards in it's early days, X1 & X2 if memory serves my correctly, X1 being female and X2 Male. The patients mainly suffered from GPI.

    Still on about Rainhill Hosp but slightly off topic >>>>>
    Does anyone know what happened to the two VW fire tenders from the hospital (rainhill) ?
    A group of us have been looking for them for a number of years and can find no trace of them.

    Phredd

    ps:- GPI = General Paralasis of the Insane; caused by Syphilis in its later stages.
    Last edited by phredd; 10-12-2008 at 07:18 AM.
    In the days when we had nothing we had fun.
    If tomorrow starts without me, remember I was here.

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    Newbie JLC57's Avatar
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    Default Rainhill Hospital History Night

    I am secretary for a local group (Friends of St Benediucts Wood) which looks after the woodland on the former Rainhill Hospital site, in conjunction with the Woodland Trust). The Group's members consist mainly of people now living on the former site. We are arranging a History Night on 5th March 2009 at the local retirement village, where many of the residents have memories of the hospital. We already have a couple of speakers and also some photograph displays lined up and 'stealthpicasso' has agreed that we can use his video footage. Our intention is to record people's memories of the hospital either as a worker or a patient. In the New Year we want to collate this on a web site for everyone. Our other aim is to raise money for a memorial to the hospital patients on the woodland site. If you are interested in either speaking or attending then let me know and I can provide the details.

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    Re-member Ged's Avatar
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    Is there a register for people who were in Rainhill hospital.
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    Briden briden27's Avatar
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    Default Rainhill Hospital

    I worked as a psychiatric nurse at Springfield Hospital in the early 70s.You would be amazed at the number of patients on the geriatric wards that had been admitted for some minor misdemeanor and stayed 40 or 50 years.
    It is heartbreaking but just a part of the ignorance in the early days of psychiatric medicine

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    They still practice electric shock treatment. what for?
    Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
    Time held me green and dying
    Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

    Dylan Thomas

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddy View Post
    They still practice electric shock treatment. what for?
    Apparently, it did have some positive effect on some, people,though nobody seems to actually know why!(that I've heard about,anyway!)

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    Newbie mardilurg's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by Last Of The Timelords View Post
    My great grandmother ended up in Rainhill for 35 years in the 1920's with nothing more than post-natal depression so I have great interest in the place, and in how society treated mental illnesses with nothing more, it seems to me, than a lock and key.
    This happened to me in June 1975! I was in a distressed state because we'd been evicted right on the day my daughter was due to be born. I was homeless, and homesick (being Australian) I was separated from my baby as well, and my milk was dried up without my knowing or permission.
    All I needed was some counselling.
    It was really bad management, and I'd never get satisfaction even if a tried to have an apology, but I'm just glad I got out quickly! Only through a bombastic friend who came and questioned the doctor who was at the maternity hospital when I gave birth.
    I am eternally grateful to her and to God for this, as I knew it was a place you didn't get out of easily!
    I was then put in the psychiatric ward of a general hospital (Ormskirk) which was appropriate...

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    Newbie mardilurg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by briden27 View Post
    I worked as a psychiatric nurse at Springfield Hospital in the early 70s.You would be amazed at the number of patients on the geriatric wards that had been admitted for some minor misdemeanor and stayed 40 or 50 years.
    It is heartbreaking but just a part of the ignorance in the early days of psychiatric medicine
    My husband's stepfather was incarcerated for decades (from about 1954), supposedly for putting ground glass in his stepsons' porridge.
    This was not a minor offence,and I understand that he was in the section for the criminally insane.
    When Rainhill was being closed, my husband's half-sister wrote (1980) to say that she'd been visited by the police to identify her father. He died as a derelict, not being able to cope with life after being institutionalised for so long. I think this was a very sad thing to happen.

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    Diane Louise Diane Louise's Avatar
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    Rainhill hospital should never have been closed as care in the community does not suit all patients who need to be hospitalised. I am sure some of these patients feel more comfortable and secure being in a hospital which can cater for all their needs as ong as the 'right' people are put there in the first place.

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diane Louise View Post
    Rainhill hospital should never have been closed as care in the community does not suit all patients who need to be hospitalised. I am sure some of these patients feel more comfortable and secure being in a hospital which can cater for all their needs as ong as the 'right' people are put there in the first place.
    Got to agree wholeheartedly! Some people just can't cut it,in the outside world,and there should be some provision for this,which,from what I've heard recently,is on the way! Just a pity there's been so many deaths of,and by,people with a mental condition!

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    Senior Member knowhowe's Avatar
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    I did a series of portraits at the hospital in the 1980s, some of which are online here (sorry the images are so small, I've been meaning to replace them with better ones for years)-

    http://www.chesterwalls.info/gallery/people.html


    Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls-
    http://www.chesterwalls.info

    The Liverpool Gallery-
    http://www.chesterwalls.info/gallery/liverpool.html

    The Chester Shop
    http://www.thechestershop.com


    Chester & Liverpool Guided Walks
    http://www.chesterwalls.info/guidedwalks.html

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    Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!! ItsaZappathing's Avatar
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    Something strange about them pics KH. Well taken though.
    And that is some site you've got there. Excellent pics. Brilliant effort.
    Keep it up

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    Senior Member underworld's Avatar
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    One of my Great great Uncles was in this Hospital in the Victorian times for Alcoholism. I believe he was part of the fabric of the place and manned the gatehouse. He died aged 38 in the 1880s.

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    Great pic's KH,
    The stories those faces could tell! I think I actually recognise one of the women there,and who's brother, was also an inmate! Both were transferred to community houses in Anfield! I'll be looking at the Rainhill site,and though I never worked there,have been in contact with people who did live,and work there!

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    Senior Member knowhowe's Avatar
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    Ta for the feedback everyone. Much appreciated. I really will try to get the full set of portraits scanned and online soon (I still have the negs and 10X8 prints).

    I remember much of the place being in pretty poor condition, peeling paint, broken windows.. there were sparrows flying around inside some wards!

    I haven't been back there for years. Has it been entirely redeveloped for housing or do some of the old hospital buildings survive?
    Chester: a Virtual Stroll Around the Walls-
    http://www.chesterwalls.info

    The Liverpool Gallery-
    http://www.chesterwalls.info/gallery/liverpool.html

    The Chester Shop
    http://www.thechestershop.com


    Chester & Liverpool Guided Walks
    http://www.chesterwalls.info/guidedwalks.html

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    Senior Member underworld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by knowhowe View Post
    s.. there were sparrows flying around inside some wards!
    You sure that it just wasn't inside your head! LoL

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    Quote Originally Posted by underworld View Post
    You sure that it just wasn't inside your head! LoL
    LOL.

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    When we first got married my wife had an interview for a job at Rainhill as a nurse! She got the job but turned it down because St. Helens Social Services offered her a position as assistant manager at Abbey Road care hostel in Dentons Green...

    She knew many of the staff at Rainhill and some of the patients were transferred to Abbey Road in preparation for return to the community!
    Negotium Perambulans in Tenebris

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    Hi, i wonder if anyone here can help,
    I Think that my Great Great grandfather on my mothers side was admitted to rainhill sometime after 1891 but before 1901,
    if its the same person he must have been there for at least 10 years as he apears on the 1901 & 1911 census,
    The reason i think this is on the 1901 census he is not living at his marital home and his wife is listed as wife not widow and also the same for the 1911 census however the enumirator has crossed this out and written Head....
    So i did a seach on my great, great grandfathers name and the only person i could find on the census, with the same initals, surname, age and birthplace as him was living in Rainhill asylum.

    he is listed as "Lunatic" but what would this have meant?

    Is there any way i can find out:
    1, What this persons full name was?
    2, Why he was admitted?
    3, How long he would have spent there?

    Thanks
    Alison

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    Senior Member wsteve55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlisonDaviesBell View Post
    Hi, i wonder if anyone here can help,
    I Think that my Great Great grandfather on my mothers side was admitted to rainhill sometime after 1891 but before 1901,
    if its the same person he must have been there for at least 10 years as he apears on the 1901 & 1911 census,
    The reason i think this is on the 1901 census he is not living at his marital home and his wife is listed as wife not widow and also the same for the 1911 census however the enumirator has crossed this out and written Head....
    So i did a seach on my great, great grandfathers name and the only person i could find on the census, with the same initals, surname, age and birthplace as him was living in Rainhill asylum.

    he is listed as "Lunatic" but what would this have meant?

    Is there any way i can find out:
    1, What this persons full name was?
    2, Why he was admitted?
    3, How long he would have spent there?

    Thanks
    Alison
    Hi Alison,there is a Rainhill website,run by former staff,who might possibly be able to help,or at least point you in the right direction!

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    Member bidston's Avatar
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    lunatic was a medical term which came into common usage and then disrepute, not the same meaning as we understand today

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    Quote Originally Posted by bidston View Post
    lunatic was a medical term which came into common usage and then disrepute, not the same meaning as we understand today
    Much like imbecile,feeble-mindedness,etc! All miraculously cured,overnight,when the terms were discontinued,in the late 50's,early 60's!

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    Senior Member squiggs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsteve55 View Post
    Much like imbecile,feeble-mindedness,etc! All miraculously cured,overnight,when the terms were discontinued,in the late 50's,early 60's!
    My GreatGrandfather was listed on the 1901 census as being an Imbecile and yet he was listed as a ships engineer ?, always thought that was strange !...

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    Newbie AlisonDaviesBell's Avatar
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    HI,
    Do you know what the website is called?
    Yeah i found it very strange that my great grandfather went from running his own business and owning several propities to being listed as "lunatic"

    i also looked at the definition for that time and found the same feeble mindedness etc...
    i wonder if he had a stroke or had alzheimer's or something similar, but, he was only 42 on the 1901
    census.

    Thanks

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    Senior Member squiggs's Avatar
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    My Great Grandfather was 45 in 1901 I have to say I was really shocked when I saw imbecile by his name, I wonder what it did mean in 1901 ?

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