bristol


Labelling. Putting people in a box is it ‘jail’ or ‘home’?

Article by Dr Paul Tobia Up until now I have concentrated on the patient records from Bristol’s purpose built asylum in the nineteenth century, but in this article I begin my exploration of  the period 1900-1915 before the asylum became Beaufort War Hospital in1915. This period, often called the Edwardian era, has been characterised as […]


The ‘Good’ Doctor

Pretending to be someone other than oneself is an attractive prospect, you can forget your insecurities and adopt another persona more confident and  talented than yourself. This is what the acting profession is based on and to a certain extent it is something we all do. I know that when I went to work as […]


One man’s war. All the way from Tasmania

Private Charles Samuel Henry Dale experienced the First World War in Gallipoli, France and Belgium, and due to the severity of the wounds he sustained was deemed unfit for active duty in the Second World War. He was one of the 29,000 plus soldiers who came to Beaufort War Hospital for treatment. Dale had enlisted […]


Reclaiming the insane

Throughout history those with mental health problems have been depicted as ‘other’, thus distancing them from the general population. At Glenside Hospital Museum in Bristol, we are very lucky to have unique collection of photographs, paintings and drawings of the patients and the environment of the Bristol Lunatic Asylum which later became Glenside Hospital.  They […]


At the Mercy of the Doctor

Article by Dr Paul Tobia History is often portrayed as a series of narratives in which great men (and they always seem to be men) changed the world with their strength and leadership, intellect or malevolence. This view of history has been challenged, as economic, social and cultural factors can be shown to be more […]


In Remembrance: capturing the history of war is not easy

This Remembrance Weekend GHM would like to thank all our visitors who gave us their family stories. Their contributions have been added to our collection to share with the generations to come. They help us remember the soldiers who came to Beaufort War Hospital during the First World War. In 2014, we began to research […]


One day, two performances, 15 July at Museum

alldaybreakfast presents UNLOCKED a site-specific performance installation at Glenside Hospital Museum. Directed by Lily Mcleish An atmospheric site-specific performance in Glenside Hospital Museum, in the grounds of the former Bristol Lunatic Asylum. The performance gives voice to the patient, interweaving words found in the museum archives, accounts from former patients and experiences of people who […]


The Padded Cell Part 2: the most frequent visitor

In the late nineteenth century the medical journals of Bristol Lunatic Asylum list which patients were placed in the seclusion room.  The name which occurs most often was Hannah Llewellyn. Over a number of years starting in 1873 she was regularly placed there, usually the reason given was ‘excitement’ or ‘fighting’(Medical Journals, BRO 40513/J/7 and […]


The Padded Cell Part 1

At Glenside Hospital Museum there is a replica of a padded cell, a small room with cushioned walls. One panel is thought to be from the late nineteenth century, you can see layers of colour as the room got repainted from pink, to blue and then pale yellow, another panel is the door from the […]


Children at the Asylum, forgotten pasts: Part 3

To rescue their forgotten pasts I have chosen a further four children to illustrate the diversity of their health problems and experience in the asylum.   Henry Kane   Henry Kane was admitted on May 24th 1898 from the Bristol Union Workhouse. He died of tuberculosis seven months later. Aged 15 he suffered from what […]


Children in the asylum: Part 2

Admissions of children aged 11 to 16 As the age of those admitted increases there are profound differences. To be able to make comparisons I developed a database. The analysis shows there were more of them: twenty-three 15-year-olds and forty 16-year-olds. Their chances of recovery improved with age; 46% of those aged 15 or 16 […]


Young children in the Asylum: Part 1

The asylum admission books record many tragic stories but the most heartrending were of children admitted to the asylum. There were not many; 96 or 1.8% of the admissions between 1861–1900 were children aged 16 or under and of these only ten were under 11. The youngest was Rosina Smith who was admitted aged just […]


Discovering Glenside Through its Objects #4: Creature Comforts

One area of the museum has been dressed as it would have been during Glenside’s pauper lunatic asylum days, using the original furniture from the  Victorian Board Room. There is a large mahogany dining table and chairs to seat twelve. The lower half of the room has the original dark wood panelling. Above, the walls […]


Epilepsy and the Lifton Family

Nowadays epilepsy is not seen as a psychiatric condition and a person with epilepsy is unlikely to be treated by a mental health unit. In the nineteenth century it was different as the Lifton family were to discover. In 1861, when Bristol Lunatic Asylum opened, the Liftons were a fairly prosperous family. Isaac and his […]


‘Unlocked’ exhibition at the City Hall 20th-24th February 10am-3pm

  Alldaybreakfast with ‘Unlocked’, a Creative Seed Council funded project. The exhibition aims to engage audiences in discussion about mental health through art. Working as artists in residence at the Glenside Hospital Museum (which was formerly known as the Bristol Lunatic Asylum in the 1800s) the group developed the exhibition using the museum’s exhibits to […]


Epilepsy in the Asylum

When I was a nursing assistant working on an elderly male psychiatric ward in the early 1980s I witnessed patients having grand mal epileptic fits about once a week. At first I found it quite frightening, but later I became quite blasé about it, although I did wonder why they were so common. Epilepsy only […]


Bringing our collection to life

Participants at GHM’s Drawing Classes set about capturing our collection on paper. Using the technique of pencil and ink wash they created strong, powerful images. After some quick 10 minute drawings – a sample of the many produced are below – they moved into the heart of the museum. (See Andrew Eddington’s picture on Facebook.) […]


Drawing Class at Glenside Hospital Museum

Not to be missed. For anyone who would like to learn or perfect drawing a quick sketch of something that interests you in a gallery or museum this drawing and ink wash class at Glenside Hospital Museum will be a delight. Friday 3rd February 2017 1.45pm til 4.30pm Drawing Class Captured on Paper with Caroline […]