Lennox Castle Hospital
Lennox Castle Hospital

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Lennox Castle Hospital

2.2.12 Activity: living through change

Living through changes

  • 1908 – Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded
  • 1910 – James Lappin born
  • 1913 – Mental Deficiency Act (England and Scotland)
  • 1915 – Colin Sproul born
  • 1914–18 – First World War
  • 1925 – James goes into Royal Scottish National Institution at Larbert
  • 1927 – Mental Deficiency Act
  • 1929 – Report of the Mental Deficiency Committee (Wood Committee); recommended expansion of institutional provision for ‘mental defectives’
  • 1937 – Colin joins the staff at Lennox Castle Hospital
  • 1938 – James enters Lennox Castle Hospital
  • 1939 – Outbreak of Second World War
  • 1939 – Colin Sproul qualifies as a mental deficiency nurse
  • 1942 – Colin marries and moves onto the Oval shortly afterwards
  • 1945 – Labour government
  • 1946 – National Health Service Act
  • 1947 – National Council for Civil Liberties campaign begins
  • 1951 – Conservative government
  • 1952 – Margaret Scally born
  • 1952 – The drug Chlorpromazine (Largactil) introduced
  • 1956 – Riot at Lennox Castle
  • 1957 – Report of the Royal Commission on the Law Relating to Mental Illness and Deficiency (The Percy Report)
  • 1958 – Margaret is admitted to Waverley Park Home
  • 1959 – Mental Health Act 1959
  • 1961 – Enoch Powell's ‘water tower’ speech
  • 1962 – Peter Townsend's Last Refuge published
  • 1964 – Labour government
  • 1967 – Barbara Robb's Sans Everything published
  • 1960s (late) – Employment of patients as domestics on the wards at Lennox Castle ends
  • 1968 – Margaret is moved to Lennox Castle Hospital
  • 1969 – Ely report identifies cruelty and cover-up at the Ely mental hospital in Cardiff; first of a decade of several similar inquiries at Farleigh, Whittingham, South Ockenden and Normansfield
  • 1971 – Better Services for the Mentally Handicapped, White Paper issued by the Department of Health
  • 1972 – ‘Our Life’, first national conference of people with learning difficulties
  • 1975 – Non-contributory Invalidity Pension introduced for all patients, at £3.00 a week
  • 1975 – Colin retires
  • 1979 – Committee of Enquiry into Mental Handicap Nursing and Care (the Jay Committee) stresses the importance of individual care rather than groups or classes of care
  • 1979 – Conservative government
  • 1981–Association of Carers founded
  • 1986 – Report by the Audit Commission, Making a Reality of Community Care
  • 1988 – Community Care: Agenda for Action (Griffiths Report)–did not extend officially to Scotland
  • 1988 – Residential Care: A Positive Choice (Wagner Report)–did not extend officially to Scotland
  • 1989 – Caring for People, White Paper issued by Department of Health–includes Scotland
  • 1990 – National Health Service and Community Care Act (includes Scotland)
  • 1991 – Margaret moves into the community 1
  • 997–James is living at Lennox Castle 1997–Colin is living in Lennoxtown
  • 1997 – Labour government
  • 2000 – James Lappin moves to live in the community in Glasgow
  • 2002 – In April, Lennox Castle Hospital closed down
  • 2002 – Colin Sproul still living in Lennoxtown

Activity 7 Living through change

Timing: 0 hours 15 minutes

Colin Sproul and James Lappin were both in their eighties when they were interviewed for the video. Margaret Scally was 44. In the box above there's a time line which integrates dates and events in their lives. I've also included some key political events which could be significant. Read it through and, as you do, note down any questions it raises for you about the lives of Colin, James and Margaret.

Figure 1.16
Figure 1.16 - Colin Sproul, 1997
Figure 1.17
Figure 1.17 - Margaret Scally in Glasgow, 1997
Figure 1.18
Figure 1.18 - Colin Sproul (second from left) and colleagues, 1938
Figure 1.19
Figure 1.19 - Margaret Scally at the Special Olympics
Figure 1.20
Figure 1.20 - James Lappin at Lennox Castle Hospital, 1997
Figure 1.21
Figure 1.21 - James Lappin back in Glasgow on a visit


One of the first questions I wanted to ask is how was it that James Lappin could have spent nearly 37 years, getting on for half of his life, in Lennox Castle since the 1959 Mental Health Act which emphasised community treatment and which led to many people being freed from the label of ‘certification’? I wondered how long it took for legislation and the effect of reports to change care practices at Lennox Castle. I wondered whether, had James Lappin only been born a few years earlier, he would have been certified and put into hospital at all. There didn't seem to be much detail to fill in for Colin and Margaret's lives. I wondered whether the time line would have looked different had they had an opportunity on the video to discuss the changes which were important to them, like friends they'd known, different jobs they'd done and family events.

The timeline in the box above brings together various bits of information, from making the video, from books and other publications, and from this course. You might have wondered about the different types of facts you were presented with. Some were spoken on the video while others were simply dates of events. Did you wonder how these different kinds of evidence compared with one another?

Key points

  • As far as individuals are concerned, key Acts, reports and other innovations may have little immediate impact on the quality of life – institutions can be slow to change.

  • Until very recently the policy and practice of institutional life has dominated the lives of people who are seen to need care.

  • When change came it was due to a number of influences: cost reduction, professionalisation of the staff, civil liberties campaigns, scandals and exposures, introduction of new drugs and treatments.


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