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Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging
Exploring learning disabilities: supporting belonging

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2.1 The geography of institutions

Between the end of the nineteenth century and 1970, numerous institutions were created to house thousands of people with learning disabilities. Institutions and hospitals (or 'long-stay' hospitals) refer to the same thing. They were places where lots of people with learning disabilities were forced to live together. Most have now been demolished or converted, often to luxury private accommodation.

Activity 2 Find your local institution for people with learning disabilities

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

Find out where institutions in your area were located by clicking on this interactive map. You should open the link in a new tab by pressing Ctrl (or Cmd on a Mac) when you click on the link.

Link: Long-stay mental deficiency hospitals in England, Scotland and Wales [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Once you find it, you could go and look to see what, if anything, remains of these institutions. Is there anything to tell you that this was a place where several thousand people spent their lives, and died? In many places there are no memorials.

Described image
Figure 3 (a) Cemetery at Leavesden Hospital, Herts; (b) a male villa at Prudhoe Hospital, near Newcastle
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Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).