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Survey asks how to commemorate Suffolk's last Victorian asylum
Date of article: 15-Mar-11
Article By: Suffolk Mental Health Partnership
St Clement’s Hospital, the last Victorian asylum in Suffolk, is due to close its doors later this year after 141 years of mental health care.
When the then-named Ipswich Borough Asylum opened in 1870, Queen Victoria was on the throne, Gladstone was Prime Minister, Charles Dickens died and elementary education was made compulsory.
The closure of St Clement’s, part of Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, will come as work is completed on new state-of-the-art wards at the Heath Road hospital site in Ipswich. The St Clement’s wards will transfer to the new buildings.
The Trust is asking the people of Suffolk for their views on exciting plans to commemorate the hospital’s history, which spans almost a century and a half.
A survey has been produced to give you a chance to contribute ideas and give their views, which can be found at http://svy.mk/OutofMind.
The Trust’s is working in partnership with Red Rose Theatre (www.redrosechain.com) and arts and mental health organisation, Inside Out (www.insideoutcommunity.com) on this project. The project is being completely funded through grants and charitable donations.
The project aims to tell the story of St Clement’s so that people can learn the history and social significance of the hospital whilst increasing their understanding around mental health.
The project will be interactive, involving service users and families, residents, past and present staff and even those with no experience of St Clement’s. Some of the ideas so far include:
· Drama workshops inspired by the stories and experiences of those involved in the hospital
· Drama shows which will then be made into a DVD
· A commemorative booklet
· Photography workshops to produce pictures for the booklet
· Writing and creativity workshops to produce material for the booklet
· An art project inspired by the buildings once empty
· A website capturing people’s experience over the years
· A closing festival for people from the past, neighbours and partner agencies to share stories
The survey asks people which ideas they feel should be progressed, and which ones they feel are not so relevant.
People are encouraged to get their views in by the end of March so they can be considered as the project moves forward.
The survey can also be found on the Trust website www.smhp.nhs.uk.
To find out how you can get involved, or to request a paper copy of the survey please contact Gabriel Tamaya on 01473 329785.