I am somewhat behind with my blog posts, so here is just a brief account of, in effect, Part 3 of the trilogy on this hospital, which I visited – now converted into luxury dwellings – on Christmas Day last year, and whose cemetery I visited a few weeks ago. This third part concerns the Wells Museum exhibition, now over, but due to open at the Wells Bishop’s Palace shortly, about the inmates/patients/residents, whom I shall henceforth refer to as residents.
Most of the exhibits were principally typed text, not ideal for a blog intended mainly for photographs, nor indeed for the visitor. I do hope the Friends of the Mendip Hospital Cemetery , whose work goes so much further than just the cemetery, will find the means of putting it all online. It is all on members’ computers, and just needs someone with the know-how to be found (and probably paid for) to convert it into a web site. The material is fascinating.
Doctor Robert Boyd was the first Resident Physician and Superintendent of what opened as the Somerset and Bath Pauper Lunatic Asylum, became the Wells Mental Hospital, and ended up being called the Mendip Hospital.
When I read this I was reminded how Covid-19 had prevented me, since February 2020, from making my monthly visits to a local nursing home to sing bygone popular songs to the residents.
Once photography came in, an image was taken of very resident on arrival.
There were many, many accounts of individuals. It would be good to be able to sit down and read more of them at leisure, each one a story to be told.
The following photos are of various members of staff and their families.
I did read the whole of this large panel, a very sad tale of Mary Ann Norman, 1833-1913, a homeless woman living on the streets, on prostitution, and on drink, in and out of of both Shepton Mallet Prison and the Asylum. No-one wanted to know her then, but we can give her attention now.
A talk given by Dr Morag Hervey in 2000 on the history of the hospital is here.
It is so good that the Friends of the Cemetery are not just maintaining the grounds but reviving the stories of the residents of the hospital itself.