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’.
Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 1)
Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 2)
Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 3)
Transcript: Video: Lennox Castle Hospital: a hidden history (part 4)
Activity 1 Lennox Castle Hospital: what kind of an institution?
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.
I don't know what words occurred to you, but what I noted down were adjectives like:
|‘cold’ (in the winter)||‘oppressive’|
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.