Lennox Castle Hospital
Lennox Castle Hospital

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Lennox Castle Hospital

1 Lennox Castle Hospital: a twentieth century institution

1.1 Finding out about Lennox Castle

Lennox Castle was typical of large institutions built by local authorities in the 1930s and was the largest in the UK. At the time it opened it was considered to be 100 years ahead of its time by specialists visiting from the USA. Since then Lennox Castle has become well known as an example of a particular type of provision characterised by its isolation and by a certain notoriety among members of the public and nursing profession.

Lennox Castle represented a large investment by the Corporation of Glasgow, who bought the land and built the hospital. But only 60 years after it was opened it was scheduled for closure. There was a need to capture and record life there before it, and the people associated with it, disappeared. But how did Howard Mitchell go about his research, and what did he find? You'll find out by watching the video: ‘Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history’.

Download this video clip.
Skip transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 1)

Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 1)

SUSAN RAE
This is the story of an institution, a community cut off from the everyday world, Lennox Castle Hospital. It's also an introduction to a research method, oral history, which explores the lives of ordinary people. The researcher is Howard Mitchell.
HOWARD MITCHELL.
I was very interested in why people performed· in certain ways within an institution, why people followed certain regimes, where these regimes came from, why people were reluctant to break with practices er which were sometimes looked upon as unnecessary and cruel, erm and how the community served to perpetuate these practices in in many ways, erm and by interviewing and analysing that material I think I've been able to get an insight into the psychology of of how a community works.
SUSAN RAE
Lennox Castle Hospital lies on extensive grounds at the foot of the Campsie Fells. It was built by Glasgow Corporation and opened officially in 1936. It was designed to be more or less self contained, with accommodation for over twelve hundred men and women with learning disabilities from the City of Glasgow. At the time it was opened it was regarded as the most advanced of its type, both in terms of its design and operating policies, but now it is the subject of a closure programme. Howard Mitchell is very much an insider. For a number of years the hospital included a maternity unit serving the population outside. Howard was born there, and later went back to work as a nurse in the 1970's.
HOWARD MITCHELL.
One of the first pieces of documentary evidence I I looked at and I I came to the records here in Lennox Castle erm it's a Lennox Castle Maternity Hospital er admissions book, and we have on the 25th June 1955, Mitchell, er male born in the hospital well it actually says nature of illness, born in hospital, but er this is in actual fact my record of birth proving that er I am very much an insider to the institution.
SUSAN RAE
Howard's method of research involves combining material located in the various archives, with extensive interviewing of people who lived and worked in the hospital over the years. But first, what kind of place was Lennox Castle?
HOWARD MITCHELL.
Typical tree lined drive, you could be forgiven for thinking it was the er entrance to one of the Victorian asylums of the nineteenth century, the mock stately homes for the the mentally ill. In fact Lennox Castle was a very much a twentieth century hospital, purpose built in a a dormitory or villa system, where each villa is self contained for sixty residents or patients. Twenty of these villas, ten for men ten for women.
SUSAN RAE
In the past, people with learning disability were generally put in poor houses, work houses, or psychiatric institutions. However, at the beginning of this century, a fear grew that so called feeble minded people were by inter- breeding with the rest of the population weakening the nations physical and moral stock. The Royal Commission on Care and Control of the Feeble Minded was followed by the 1913 Deficiency Act. This allowed for the building of separate hospitals to keep people with learning disability from mixing with the general population. Such was Lennox Castle. Five hundred yards from the patients villas there was staff accommodation. In the early years it was against hospital policy to employ local people, this helped keep the hospital isolated from society at large. Colin Sproul was unemployed in Glasgow in 1937 when he heard there might be work at Lennox Castle. He stayed for thirty eight years.
COLIN SPROUL
No no, I went in to see a man in the Municipal Buildings and he said to me do you not fancy going into Lennox Castle to work, as a male nurse, so I did that. I went in May 1937
HOWARD MITCHELL.
And did you fill in an application form?
COLIN SPROUL
Oh yes, uhu
HOWARD MITCHELL.
And er they presumably taken for interview, you remember your interview?
COLIN SPROUL
Chief male nurse er interviewed me
HOWARD MITCHELL.
Hm, and just him by himself?
COLIN SPROUL
Yes, aye. And er he asked me if I could play football, and that was you in. He was very keen on football and had a great team.
SUSAN RAE
This is the site for one of the three top class football pitches. Football and other sports loomed large in the lives of staff and patients. Sport helped foster a sense of identity, and community.
End transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 1)
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 1)
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Download this video clip.
Skip transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 2)

Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 2)

SUSAN RAE
Checking out the history of the hospital, Howard looked through the collection of photographs held in the local history library at nearby Kirkintilloch. There are scarcely any pictures of the hospital and its daily life in the collection, probably because taking photographs was regarded as a breach of confidentiality. One exception was the hospitals football team.
HOWARD MITCHELL.
The one picture er we do have in the archives here giving any idea of the the life of the the staff and the patients is this one of the the football team erm the Lennox Castle 11 who met the Celtic A team in February 1937 to open the football pitch there, er and er the lighter coloured jerseys we have the the Celtic team and the the darker jerseys the Lennox Castle team, and we can also see the the male attendants in their uniform and cap and moustache here, and erm Dr. Chislett and his assistant Dr. Curran, and also some of the the patient supporters in the background.
COLIN SPROUL
Dr. Chislett for example he he was er the big shot you know, and he aye looked on the place as his estate, I mean he was very very strict and very fair he thought, but when I think back on it, he heard there was a male nurse started that was a landscape gardener, so right away he got him to do his garden, and eighty five, and two patients, I mean and that was all for free. And his wife used to go down to the walled garden, walk in with her.
JAMES LAPPIN
No I didn't know. I thought I thought it was a day out. It was a school it was a school trip day, and my father says you're you're going out a day with me you know but I didn't know where I was going. So we went in in the car, went in George's Square and then we took to the the train, and then he says you sit there and I'll go and get the tickets and I thought I thought I was going back home again then. A nurse came up to the the sitting room and he says to me are you James Lappin I said yes, well he says, put she put her hand out and she says, you've to come with me your fathers your father's your father's seen the doctor, Doctor Clarkson, and then he went away home and I had to go to a villa (laughs).
HOWARD MITCHELL
So what did your father explain to you?
JAMES LAPPIN
Nothing he never he never told me never told me a thing.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Not not very much?
JAMES LAPPIN
No. Cos er, I don't think he was pleased with me at being a year a year at school and learnt nothing and my sister beat me you know. ova her oval basket and cut all the flowers and everything else she wanted. They thought it was it belonged to them. He was God Almighty.
SUSAN RAE
James Lappin still lives at Lennox Castle. He comes for Shettleston in Glasgow. He first became a patient in 1925 at the age of fifteen, transferring to Lennox Castle in 1938.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Can you remember the day that you went into hospital?
JAMES LAPPIN
Aye.
HOWARD MITCHELL
What what happened then.
JAMES LAPPIN
Well see a man came to lift me, but my father said that he would take me in the Saturday, I was supposed to on the Friday to ...... , but my father said he would take me on the Saturday.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So did you know beforehand that you were going? How did you feel about going into hospital at that time?
JAMES LAPPIN
I just, I just, I just went with him.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Did you feel sort of angry at all at your dad or, no?
JAMES LAPPIN
I never had much dealings with my father much you know, I don't think he was too pleased with me though, me being a year at school before my sister, and she beat me.
SUSAN RAE
Once in the self contained community, the patients were given jobs in the hospital workshops, making, mending and laundering their clothes, cleaning the wards, and generally maintaining the extensive site.
HOWARD MITCHELL
What kind of regime was it for them, was it er fairly hard would you say?
COLIN SPROUL
They seemed to accept the fact this was their job you know and what they had to do in the ward for example, that was their job. Sometimes you could say if you don't do it right I'll put somebody else on that was enough you know they wanted to keep their job. But er, I never saw anything about remuneration you know, I thought it was a disgrace. They used to get ten Woodbine.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Per
COLIN SPROUL
Per person, per week.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Per week, uhu. That was er
COLIN SPROUL
Four pence, eh. Them that worked in the shop they got double.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Right. What happened if they didn't smoke?
COLIN SPROUL
Aye I never thought on that, they did there was no alternative. I think they sold them.
SUSAN RAE
Howard talked to Margaret Scally, who came to Lennox Castle at sixteen in 1968, though for the last six years she's been living back in Glasgow. She came back to the hospital to talk to Howard about her version of life in Lennox Castle.
HOWARD MITCHELL
What what did you do after breakfast?
MARGARET SCALLY
We used to go to our jo er our work. I used to work in the chiropodists.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Aye, and what did you do there?
MARGARET SCALLY
I used to answer phones and deliver letters to the wards.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Right. So that that was that was quite a responsible job?
MARGARET SCALLY
Mm. I loved that job because I used to work with June .... and Maurice here.
HOWARD MITCHELL
V\/hat about erm what other kind of work did you ever work anywhere else?
MARGARET SCALLY
I worked in OT. I worked in the gardens. That's the three jobs I worked.
HOWARD MITCHELL
What would your wages be when you first started?
COLIN SPROUL
After you paid your er board money you got twenty three and eleven pence, aye. And then if you were satisfactory after six months you went for a medical and became superannuated, and they took one and tuppence off you and it went down to twenty two and ninepence.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So you got less money after six months? You say you had to pay board how much would you be paying in board?
COLIN SPROUL
It was equivalent to twenty six shillings.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Right, so more than half your wages. And did you feel that was good value?
COLIN SPROUL
No it wasn't good value at all, to me it was very very poor. They never showed any imagination about your menu, I mean you I can remember and we're talking about 1937 I could tell you the breakfast, you just went to wakened up in the morning and say it's Monday it's an egg, fried egg. Tuesday it was ham. Wednesday it was a kipper, Thursday it was a sausage. Friday it was an egg. Every, never a change.
HOWARD MITCHELL
And did you never have a chance to choose your own sort of colours or?
MARGARET SCALLY
No. They just gave it out.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Did you did you feel bad about that at all or did you wish you could choose some nice clothes?
MARGARET SCALLY
I would like to choose some I felt bad I would like to choose some nice clothes, no wearing the old fashioned stuff. Was everybody up the workroad felt rotten about that, why we had to wear it, everybody else's place as a hospital place.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So, did you have sort of underwear that was your own or did was er?
MARGARET SCALLY
I used to wear the ones for here. Old big the big ones big bloomers and that we used to wear.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So did you could you go and choose your your own or whatever or were they given to you?
MARGARET SCALLY
They they were given to us.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So would they be there for you in the morning?
MARGARET SCALLY
They used to er go round all the they used to go round and put the underwear their clothes and that on our beds.
HOWARD MITCHELL
And would that just be anybody's at all on the ward.
MARGARET SCALLY
Anybody wore them.
End transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 2)
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 2)
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Download this video clip.
Skip transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 3)

Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 3)

SUSAN RAE
The hospitals own archives contain a number of documents recording daily life on the wards.
HOWARD MITCHELL
There was a great a great many different pieces of er documentary evidence available to me. Erm, one of the most obvious were the patients case notes, although in actual fact these er case notes which document the social background and the diagnosis er and the admissions procedure er pertaining to the patients as well as er some very bizarre three sided photographs, er weren't in fact available to the the nursing staff, er these were kept separate by the medical fraternity, and er as I say weren't available at ward level at all, which made things rather difficult for er many of the the staff on the wards who had er some problems of management with people who er they didn't know why they had been admitted or they're often criminal backgrounds. You think some of them were er of normal ability?
COLIN SPROUL
Aye I thought they were that if it hadn't been for their criminal record I don't think they'd ever been in Lennox Castle. You could have picked up any amount in Glasgow just the same IQ as them. See they took them to Barlinnie and they examined them in Barlinnie and if their IQ was slightly below that was enough. It was one way of getting them off the streets, habitual criminal.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Which could make things quite difficult for yourselves?
COLIN SPROUL
Yes, aye. Cos they got sentenced to maybe six months in jail then finished up in the Castle, and it extended to years if they didn't run away.
HOWARD MITCHELL
We have the the daily report book which tells us the staff who were on the wards, number of patients on the wards number of patients who are out on pass, and details again that incidents that might happen, somebody is er noisy, aggressive to a fellow patient, er prescribed chlorpromazine a hundred milligrams or whatever, er somebody stealing, somebody refusing to er eat or whatever, these are the day to day er incidents that are recorded here. What would be the the main problems you would be have in the ward, in terms of looking after the patients?
COLIN SPROUL
Oh there was er, the usual, sometimes a wee bit fracas with them you know some of them fighting one another, sometimes fighting with the staff you know it was, like everything else if you get eighty two together all the time they must fall out.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So, what sanctions would you be able to take?
COLIN SPROUL
Er, the whole thing was obviously send for more staff. Where you got them well nobody ever told us.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So did you actually have to end up fighting?
COLIN SPROUL
Aye, struggle with them putting them into bed, that was where put you to bed, and then they were on punishment after that, missed their missed their Woodbine. Got bare rations. And when they, if they ran away, they come back and brought back we'd put them into a white moleskin suit, and they kept that on for maybe three months. That was to try and make sure they didn't run away again, try and make sure.
HOWARD MITCHELL
And did they have a name for that regime?
COLIN SPROUL
Well the only name they ever had was five o'clock treatment, when they got up they went out and worked and when they came in at five o'clock they went to bed.
HOWARD MITCHELL
And were they put on a diet at all?
COLIN SPROUL
At the beginning they were put on a diet, bread, bread and tea. The only thing they missed was their porridge. away they would run away. I mean they had enough intelligence they knew fine that I'm not staying in here.
HOWARD MITCHELL
As far as the patients are concerned I think the documentary evidence concerning them only illustrates a patients life who might be a problem in some ways, or whose life is filled with certainly incidents that are recorded, it doesn't tell you very much about the day to had a lot of friends here, some of them.
And was it something that worked at all?
COLIN SPROUL
I don't think it worked at all. I mean if they wanted to run away they would run away. I mean they had enough intelligence they knew fine that I'm not staying in here.
HOWARD MITCHELL
As far as the patients are concerned I think the documentary evidence concerning them only illustrates a patients life who might be a problem in some ways, or whose life is filled with certainly incidents that are recorded, it doesn't tell you very much about the day to day life of a patient. How did you get on with the the staff, the nurses?
MARGARET SCALLY
Some staff was good and'some staff wasn't.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Did you have any sort of what you would call friends among the staff.
MARGARET SCALLY
I had a lot of friends here, some of them.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Among the staff but amongst the nurses?
MARGARET SCALLY
I liked I used to like June Robertson, Bill McEwan and all them, the ward they used to be in.
HOWARD MITCHELL
What about the the staff you didn't you didn't get on with?
MARGARET SCALLY
Didn't bother with them.
HOWARD MITCHELL
And what why why didn't you get on with them?
MARGARET SCALLY
It was going back years and years ago, when they all used to go down when we all used to go down the knees and do the scrubbing, the short nightgowns, moleskins, and they you only used to used to get one fag a day at seven o'clock at night.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Why would you be doing this.
MARGARET SCALLY
It's because we were we were bad.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Alright. And what what what do you mean bad.
MARGARET SCALLY
Used to get we used to we used to all go down on our knees and do all this scrubbing when you were on punishment.
HOWARD MITCHELL
What would you describe as bad, what would be the reason for you being in punishment?
MARGARET SCALLY
Cos I was only a wee toddler. I used to be wild is what I was.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Wild. Aye. And what would you do when you were wild?
MARGARET SCALLY
They used to put me into my room into my bed.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Aye but what would you do would you try and run away or would you break a window or?
MARGARET SCALLY
Wouldn't break a window I'd run away if I was
HOWARD MITCHELL
And did you did you run away at all?
MARGARET SCALLY
No. l wouldn't run away.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Did you never feel like it.
MARGARET SCALLY
I felt like doing it when I was here but I wouldn't. Just felt like running away.
HOWARD MITCHELL
I was in a fortunate position to have this er document passed on to me by er an ex member of staff who worked in the nursing administration at Lennox Castle Hospital. It's the old misconduct book for the the male patients running from 1937 until the ?O's, and it er charts erm each individual patient's record of misconducts within the wards. For example, this particular patient 1940, struck out at an attendant when cautioned for smoking pipe at breakfast table. Resistive when put to bed, used threatening and obscene language. Bread and milk diets as ordered by medical officer, threw cup through window. Ordered and given three drams of paraldehyde, threatened to blind staff with glass measure. We can see here what types of misdemeanours were punished erm what the punishments were tended to be, that's were usually put to bed and put on a a restricted diet. Er also they used the drug paraldehyde, and the fact that er the the medical officer erm had to be contacted to er put these things in operation, and er perhaps also some of the the behaviour er that was the staff had to contend with in the hospital.
End transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 3)
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 3)
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
Download this video clip.
Skip transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 4)

Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 4)

HOWARD MITCHELL Did you have any other er sort of punishment sanctions at all, or anybody that was?
COLIN SPROUL
No, there was nothing else, no.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Any drugs.
COLIN SPROUL
Well you see, when I was up there was no there was no such thing as the drugs that they used latterly. mean a patient took an outburst, it's a case of just getting him down and putting him into bed. But latterly it was drugs did it all for you, they just gave them some drugs and er they were quiet.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Do you think it was er better when there wasn't any.
COLIN SPROUL
No no I think it was better for the patients, I mean er they were quiet and docile but it saved them getting into any trouble too you know, fighting the other ones.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Were you on any er drugs at all?
MARGARET SCALLY
I was just on the same ones that I used to be
HOWARD MITCHELL
Aye, what's that.
MARGARET SCALLY
When I was at ..... used to put on a Demerol?
HOWARD MITCHELL
Did you feel them having an effect on you.
MARGARET SCALLY
Sometimes I used to, and we used to get paraldehyde jabs
HOWARD MITCHELL
Mm, did you get paraldehyde?
MARGARET SCALLY
Aye I got it. Used to get it when I was, that day I got a bad bad phone call
HOWARD MITCHELL
What was that?
MARGARET SCALLY
My brother, died. And that's when l took a a bad turn, and they gave me some paraldehyde to calm me down.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Right. Why were taking ....... ?
MARGARET SCALLY
Been on them all my life. I've been on them tablets since I was six years old, and I've been on them since then, just to try and help me to calm d try to calm down and that.
HOWARD MITCHELL
This er villa here is the scene of one of the infamous incidents in the the history of the hospital there was a a riot in 1957.
COLIN SPROUL
Dr. Curran was the superintendent then and he got patients who had been very troublesome in different hospitals and he brought them into the Castle, and put them all in the one place, and it was just a powder keg, you knew always half knew that something would happen, and it did happen They transferred them from a up to a ward, and when they got into the ward they started right away. Bro they broke every pane of glass in the place. Urinals, everything you know what I mean. And the staff, staff had nothing they had no way of getting in. They finished up when they did get in holding a bin lid in front of them to overpower them, they'd open razors as well you know.
HOWARD MITCHELL
What the patients?
COLIN SPROUL
The patients burst open the and took the open razors out that we used for shaving. And the fire brigade was sent and they ho they hosed them down, no trouble getting it through the window there was nothing there was no glass.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Must have been a fair amount of windows.
COLIN SPROUL
Mm, terrible damage.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So what was the outcome of that?
COLIN SPROUL
The outcome it was that seven of them got transferred to Carstairs.
HOWARD MITCHELL
And erm the rest of the .... ?
COLIN SPROUL
The rest were just dispersed round the wards. There was a, I think there was twenty in that ward, twenty.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So was it publicised?
COLIN SPROUL
It was in the papers yes, aye, the press got it.
HOWARD MITCHELL
The riot is one of the narratives that er I've recorded from most of the nurses who have worked in Lennox Castle Hospital. It was often told to new members of staff who started to work _there. It also gave an insight to new nurses about what life was like and how difficult life was in the hospital and the potential dangers of the the patients working with the patients there.
SUSAN RAE
The hospital grounds were strictly segregated. Women at the top of the hill, men at the bottom. The tea room half way up marked the boundary, enforced not just for patients, but for staff too.
HOWARD MITCHELL
You said that you were allowed a dance once ... ?
COLIN SPROUL
Once a week.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Right. Were there strictures on that?
COLIN SPROUL
Well, you couldn't go up the road with them you know what I mean.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Mm, but you were allowed freedom to dances?
COLIN SPROUL
Oh yes aye. Under the supervision of the superintendent, his wife, and the matron the chief male nurse.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So you could do whatever you liked but you weren't allowed to go beyond a certain erm place in the hospital?
COLIN SPROUL
That's right. Ah the tea room, tea room. If you were courting a nurse that was as far as you, the tea room and that.was the finish of it.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So the tea room would be where?
COLIN SPROUL
In the middle of the hill. Up from the hospital site.
HOWARD MITCHELL
But erm, was somebody watching.
COLIN SPROUL
Aye well they had a man on the telephone at night, part of his job was walking about there, at the the witching hour, eleven o'clock.
HOWARD MITCHELL
No bribes come his way?
COLIN SPROUL
(laughs) No.
HOWARD MITCHELL
But er there there'd be presumably quite a few romances between the nurses
COLIN SPROUL
Aye, there vvere quite a lot of them aye, oh aye. And most of them most of the staff that stayed in the hall are married to nurses.
HOWARD MITCHELL
You mentioned your girlfriend Barbara, when did you see her?
JAMES LAPPIN
Well, it's a long while.
HOWARD MITCHELL
But would you see her every day or ... ?
JAMES LAPPIN
Well she she, it was only the dances and that you'd see, you'd get to know her, because she worked in the laundry in here.
HOWARD MITCHELL
And would could you not see her during the day at all?
JAMES LAPPIN
No, cos she was she was working in the laundry and I was and I was up in department two.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Right, and were you were you allowed to meet at night.
JAMES LAPPIN
No no.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Why why not?
JAMES LAPPIN
I don't I don't think we were allowed out at night.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Right. What erm so you'd maybe see her once a a week was that?
JAMES LAPPIN
Aye. When she when she was going down the road to her work, and I was I was going up to to go to mine, department -two.
HOWARD MITCHELL
So was there ever a time when you hoped that you'd have a girlfriend and get married or anything?
JAMES LAPPIN
No no.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Did that not appeal to you or?
JAMES LAPPIN
Oh no.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Why was that, most people you know
JAMES LAPPIN
Because if if you marry, you've got a lot of worries. Go out and work and do things in the house you know.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Did you not fancy that?
JAMES LAPPIN
Oh no, no. You're better single. To old.
SUSAN RAE
With no aspirations to a domestic life of his own, James put great value on his links with people in the world outside. Visits play a key part in the hospitals routine.
HOWARD MITCHELL
Visiting was extremely rigidly regulated, erm and a record was kept of everybody who came to visit a a patient. We can see here that this patient in particular was visited twice a week throughout a whole decade by er his mother and father, it's it's er it's just a list of dates but in many ways it's quite poignant the er the loyalty that er some relatives showed to a boy here, er who I know was extremely multiply handicapped er and er it's quite poignant that his parents came up to see him so regularly and often, er and we can contrast with some of the other entries here who the number of years between er the visits from any relatives or friends.
SUSAN RAE
Using oral history techniques, Howard Mitchell has constructed a picture of daily life in Lennox Castle. This is history from the bottom up, giving a voice to ordinary people. Their experiences portray Lennox Castle as a strong impenetrable society in which people lived and worked together, their lives totally dominated by the hospital. At times in its history, patients and staff were subjected to a stern regimented routine. The written records alone would not tell us this story, yet it's one we need to know as we consider how social policies affect the lives of people like Colin Sproul, James Lappin, and Margaret Scally.
End transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 4)
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 4)
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Activity 1 Lennox Castle Hospital: what kind of an institution?

1 hour 0 minutes

Watch the video ‘Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history’. Don't worry if you feel you need to watch it through more than once. All of the files in total last about 30 minutes. Watching a video when you're learning is different from watching for entertainment. You can use every bit or parts of it. You should make it work for you so pause or watch sections again as much as you want to.

While you watch note down any words which come into your head about what kind of place Lennox Castle Hospital might have been to live or work in.

Discussion

Comment

I don't know what words occurred to you, but what I noted down were adjectives like:

'safe’ ‘cruel’
‘isolated’ ‘boring’
‘frightening’ ‘caring’
‘cold’ (in the winter) ‘oppressive’
‘dangerous’ ‘inhuman’
‘peculiar’ 'stultifying’
‘extraordinary’ ‘depressing’
‘controlling’

Someone who read this material suggested nouns like, ‘friends and enemies’, ‘sharing’, ‘trust and distrust’, ‘fear’, ‘punishments and rewards’.

I didn't seem to come up with many positive words even though I saw people laughing and smiling about things they remembered. The story on the video evokes a mixture of emotions and it's difficult to know if people who lived and worked there share the same feelings about the place. Someone like James Lappin sounds quite resigned to life at the hospital, making the best of what he's had. When Colin Sproul talks about his work as a nurse, he's both bitter and realistic when he recalls the system he had to work with. There's something rather similar in both their attitudes. Margaret Scally remembers good times at the hospital, at work, but she leaves us with no illusions, she's pleased not to be there any longer. And Howard Mitchell, how does he come over? How well did you feel he coped with having been a nurse and with what he now knows as a researcher?

The hospital and the system it represents appear to be something of an enigma. But perhaps it's too easy to see it as extraordinary and isolated. Whatever our reactions, we need to be able to explain what we saw and to draw conclusions from it.

K100_7

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus