Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Netherne Hospital 1977 and Netherne Village on the Hill 2009

Here are some pictures of Netherne Psychiatric Hospital, near Coulsdon in Surrey, as it looked around 1977.

The Main Entrance.
The Main Entrance with a direction sign. Press image to see the directions on the sign.
The Chapel.

The Water Tower.

A view of the Wards.

Netherne Hospital opened its doors on the 1st April 1909.

Prior to 1840 patients from Surrey either got sent to Bethlem or a private asylum. In 1840 Wandsworth Asylum was built to accommodate Surrey patients; a second asylum was built at Brookwood, and a third at Cane Hill, but when London expanded to take over a large area of Surrey south of the River Thames, Cane Hill was used for London residents. Then as Brookwood filled up and was no longer large enough for Surrey it was decided to erect a new asylum at Netherne on a farming estate on a hill two miles from Coulsdon.

The direct path to the Asylum was quite steep and crossed high above a railway cutting, and so a zig zig road was constructed up the hill for vehicles.

Netherne was initially designed for 960 patients, but with plenty of room to grow. The main building itself was in the shape of a south facing arc so that all the wards could get the sun during the day. It was unlike previous Victorian custodial style asylums, and built of pale red brick and portland stone on two levels. There were villas separate from the main hospital to give some chronic patients - who worked on the land, and convalescent patients - ready to be discharged, a less institutional type of place to live. There was also a chapel, admin block, recreation hall, accommodation for nurses, and a cemetery. The whole estate was about 350 acres, and employed patients on a farm which included cows for milk, and a piggery with about 120 pigs to consume the food waste.

Thanks to the Surrey Mirror of 9th April 1909 for some of the details.

Yesterday, I drove my son over to Croydon. He had to be at work on Boxing Day and transport was a problem. Then being near my old haunts I went to what was once Netherne Mental Hospital and took this picture of what was once Dickens Ward. The view is little changed. The hospital buildings have been changed to flats, and new houses built all around. The new development is probably about ten years old now, and continues to grow with new houses and is called Nethern Village or Netherne on The Hill.

I have updated this post after adding an entry for 1st April to a new blog called Mental Health on this day in History

Saturday, December 26, 2009

In an Oxford Shoe Shop

One body remained in the Shoe Shop after a busy day of Sales

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Elvis Has Left The Building


About eight years ago I first went into Borders in Oxford and thought that I had discovered the future. There was a big book shop with comfy reading areas and Cafe, a large CD and video area down an escalator, and most of the CDs I could listen to over head phones from their library. So I was able to find lots of new music before buying. Back then I was into World Music. But today this young lady locked the door for the final time.

Elvis has left the Building.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Museum of The History of Science - Oxford

Currently there is an exhibition called 'Steampunk' at the Museum of The History of Science. There are Victorian style objects - dressed up in brass and leather - Victorian materials and workmanship - which have futuristic functions. It is the world as it might have been.
Alongside are exhibits from the museum's own collection which helped inspire the Steampunk movement in Science Fiction and Art. This is a skull mapping device.
This is a model of the solar system's movements.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Ashmolean Re-opens

Here is room 2 with an exploration of the study of the human figure in art. The Ashmolean museum in Oxford has re-opened after a lot of building work, and it is stunning...
It used to be a bit dull and dusty. But now everything is displayed so well and so artistically.
Lawrence of Arabia's clothes are reflected here in a display case...
A map helps to explain the ancient world.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Solihull - Borders Stock Liquidation

10% off everything at Borders - possibly more. In Solihull only - but the rest of Borders were soon to follow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Exhibition at Solihull Arts Centre

Solihull Gallery can be approached either from the library or from the theatre. Both parts of the cultural centre meet here. The current exhibition of sculpture made from soft furnishings and loved objects is by Kirsty E Smith.
Here is an old biscuit tin she has memories of, highly elaborated. She says as introduction to the exhibition "I live in a constant dialogue between my childhood memories and my experience of the preseent... Making is something I have done since a child..' To find out more visit her blog Frillip Moolog.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Laurel and Hardy

Ulverston in Cumbria used to have a backstreet Laurel and Hardy museum with newspaper clippings about Stan Laurel, who originally came from the town. Earlier this year a new statue was unveiled in front of the Coronation Hall.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Grange Over Sands

This view is from Grange Railway Station over what was the Grange Sands. It is far less sandy having been overgrown by an invasive plant since the last time we were there about ten years ago. After taking this picture I was told by the station master that photography in the station was no longer allowed because it is an infringement of copyright. So that too has changed since ten years ago.
Our main reason for going was not to see the station but to view all the art and craft displays along the promenade.
This lady is creating flowers from willow sticks which are then mounted on hazel.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prague - by my better half

And finally two of my wife's pictures. The only reason I get away with taking so many pictures on holiday is she is doing it too.
Jesus Christ with churches behind...
Two ladies on a bench.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prague Day 8

Before returning home a couple of images of things British found in Prague. This wonderful statue of Churchill...

and a large shopping mall very close to our hotel but which we did not discover until the last day. A large Tesco over two floors - there are supervisors who get about here on roller blades. Also an M&S and Next. And shops we have lost like C&A are still there in Prague.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prague Day 7

During my stay here I have been reading The Castle by Franz Kafka. This simple monument to Kafka, and his parents is in the jewish cemetary.
Ivy grows over and between most graves. Since the holocaust very few new graves have been erected in this particular cemetary.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Prague Day 6


Another image from another cemetary - an angel before crumbling monuments.
A street crossing in Prague. People waiting.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Prague Day 5

A dancing building.
Some of the best art is to be found for free in a cemetary in Prague remembering notable people from the the inter war years - it has no politicians or military. Most public art you must pay for in Prague.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Prague Day 4

The jazz band we saw most mornings.
The statue of Wenceslas in Wenceslas Square, now a place of casinos and clothes shops and cafes, rather than political rallies or large ceremonial displays.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Prague Day 3

McDonalds next to the Museum of Communism.
Crowds watching the clock chime in the Old Town Square. The crowds grow as each hour approaches in a way that is more spectacular than the clock itself. So many cameras centred on the clock at the same time as the twelve apostles move round and the bell chimes.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Prague Day 2

Graffiti everywhere in Prague: some of it good, most of it bad.
The Charles Bridge by Night.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Prague Day 1

A memorial to those who suffered under Communism. This is my first visit here since 1973. Much has changed.
A doll in the toy museum at Prague Castle

Sunday, July 12, 2009

From Blewburton Hill

We parked the car in Aston Upthorpe then took a Bridleway that led round Blewburton Hill.
Wild flowers like scabious were in abundance.
From the hill itself are some good views round the surrounding countryside.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Glow Worms

Last night a group of us went for for a nighttime walk at Holtspur Bank near Beaconsfield to visit the BBOWT reserve. We stopped first to watch pipistelle bats and hear their echo location clicks amplified by a bat detector.
Then we walked round looking for glow worms. We were lucky to see 20 Here is the clearest image I managed of the bioflourescent segmented body of one of the female beetles in the low grass. The light attracts the flying males in to mate.
After that some people went to study moths - a bright light bulb lured the moths in...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Limits

We went to the Final Year Fine Art Degree Show.
Some people managed to create something aesthetically pleasing after their three years in the maelstrom of creativity that is a Fine Art degree.
There were works that could have fitted on the wall back home.
Others pieces were more basic.
Many parts of this particular installation were replaced with A4 sheets "Censored by Goldsmith's College." Its a long story. An affair between a tutor and a student graphically shown and then removed at the last minute. There are limits.
For Art Students, it is a matter of finding them.