Author Topic: Maidstone Mental Institutions  (Read 160 times)

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Offline MartinR

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Re: Maidstone Mental Institutions
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2020, 05:47:22 PM »
The short answer is nursing homes, relatives and bed-blocking in the main hospitals.  There were roughly three main groups: those who were a danger to themselves or others, those who simply needed looking after, and those who were institutionalised.  The latter includes "moral defectives" (girls who became pregnant) who were on occasions locked away in their teens and never let out.  When I lived in Middlesbrough in the 1970s we took the church pantomime to St. Luke's, the local mental hospital.  Very difficult audience, but of course we only saw groups 2 and 3.  St. Lukes has now been closed.

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Maidstone Mental Institutions
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2020, 03:47:57 PM »
Martin R. An interesting list, thanks. All the big ones ( & some were huge- eg Darenth was 1200 beds!) I came across in the SE & many, many more up here in the NW, tended to be self sufficient in certain areas. Those only in because they were " backward" & had no where to go- certainly not lunatics!- were put to good use & it would have been good for them as well rather than just sitting around. Wooden clog making sounds great. If I remember correctly, Laybourne was made up of about 6 individual " houses"- a bit like a barracks block, probably holding 100 "inmates". Then central offices, boiler house, laundry, workshops, etc. Mostly they didn't try to escape- there was nowhere to go!-as they were clothed, fed & had a bed each night. I often wonder what happened to the huge numbers involved. We have a large house locally with about a dozen or so, some of whom wander around the town occasionally( I always speak to one, just a hello, that I often see). But how do you cope with hundreds? 

Offline Dave Smith

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Re: Maidstone Mental Institutions
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2020, 03:16:13 PM »
S. Many thanks for that lead. Although there are dozens listed, Barming & Laybourne Grange do not appear. Neither does Bexley Heath which had hospital plans on the wall leading to the Engineers office. Starting as Lunatic Asylum & gradually " watering" it down to Mentally Infirm. The chap who started that site & gave it up as much too large a subject would have been better off just taking one county at a time.

Offline Smiffy

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Re: Maidstone Mental Institutions
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2020, 11:44:03 AM »
There is a lot of information about Oakwood and other county asylums to be found here:
 

https://www.countyasylums.co.uk/oakwood-maidstone/

Offline MartinR

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Re: Maidstone Mental Institutions
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2020, 10:42:47 AM »
According to a notice in the Maidstone Museum: "Barming Heath Lunatic Asylum opened in 1833 and closed in 1995.  Its name changes reflect changing attitudes to mental health:
  • Barming Hospital
  • Kent County Lunatic Asylum
  • Kent County Mental Hospital
  • Oakwood, Maidstone Hospital - Psychiatric Wing
  • Trevor Gibbens Unit remains, surrounded by new houses)".
The hospital must have been fairly self-sufficient.  Amongst the artefacts on display are a pair of clogs "made by patients and used in the hospital laundry by patient workers".

Online Pete

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Re: Maidstone Mental Institutions
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2020, 09:46:46 AM »
Only other one close to M/s I can think of would be Linton Hospital at Coxheath which was more a geriatric type of hospital at that time. I used to call at Leybourne & the Dartford ones- Mabledon, South Darenth etc. Did they ever wash your car for you at Leybourne ?  :'(

Offline Dave Smith

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Maidstone Mental Institutions
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2020, 06:28:04 PM »
In 1966, when I came back to work in Kent for 2 years as a Sales Engineer, calling on hospitals, etc., the Maidstone area had a preponderance of Mental Institutions. Barming was a large one & Leybourne Grange (very large) was another - I'm sure there was at least one other. When the Govt. changed the Victorian idea of putting everyone who was not compos mentis into an institution, I suspect that these were all emptied of "patients". Is that so please? Incidentally, Darenth nr. Dartford was by far the largest in Kent- from the cradle to the grave!