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Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind....The Leavesden Asylum Story

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  • Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind....The Leavesden Asylum Story

    Found by Pat Marshall.....




    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqTe...oryAssociation
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  • #2
    I well remember visiting Leavesden Hospital circa 1972. Being a student psych nurse at that time based at Broadmoor Special hospital we were not exposed to what then was known as 'Subnormal' patients. This category of individual was usually catered for at our sister maximum security institution at Rampton Hospital, located in the north midlands of England. Thus, this was trip was designed to observe children and adults who now are referred to as 'Developmentally Delayed, something of a misnomer perhaps,but politically correct , I suppose.

    At the time of our visit, Leavesden contained approximately 3,000 residents, many of whom were both severely mentally and physically handicapped.Most of us were shocked and sadden by the scenes we encountered particularly in the paediatric units. In one area, blankets were laid on the day room floors and without exaggeration ,perhaps forty odd children of about two years of age an older were left to writhe around completely without purpose, or seemingly recognition of each other or the hellish environment they were captives of. .

    One walked away struggling to come to terms with whether this was the most humane way to treat such vulnerable people, but that is not a debate that I wish to enter into.

    Leavesden certainly left a lasting impression with all those that made that journey. I should add that we only focused on this aspect , not the run of the mill psych wards at the hospital. According to Wiki, Leavesden was closed in 1997 . There were very attractive profit to be made from the land sale of hospital sites that encircled London in the 19th century. Once countryside and a place to hide the 'unfortunates', but now prime real estate in the stockbroker belt!
    Last edited by jachim3926; November 7, 2020, 04:28 PM. Reason: addition
    Be nice to one another!
    Merv

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    • #3
      Thanks for that story, Merv.
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      Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

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      • #4
        Leavesden Hospital, Watford from robmcrorie on Flickr





        Mr. McRorie writes:

        Leavesden was the north London institution for the insane paupers who weren't suitable for workhouses but who weren't dangerous and didn't require a lunatic asylum. The equivalent for south London was at Caterham. It opened in 1870 and had a long history, including some difficulty with the spread of TB amongst the inmates. It finally closed in 1995. For more history, see ezitis.myzen.co.uk/leavesden.html [Note closure year differs from the claim on Wiki that the asylum closed in 1997, as cited by Merv]

        In regard to the ward scene, from a Christmas 1908 card, Mr. McRorie writes:

        A rare ward scene. The decoration on the walls was thought to occupy the mind and be therapeutic for those with mental illness.
        Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
        https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

        Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
        Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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        • #5
          Kosminskis release from Colney

          I find it strange that Colney Hatch discharged Kozminski relieved yet he was sent to Leavesden. Do you think this means he was what was classed then as an imbecile? My Great Aunt died in Leavesden in 1916 and she was said to be "a bit simple". Also when Kozminski had to go to court about the unmuzzled dog his brother Woolfe had to speak up for him. It does seem he needed support.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pat Marshall View Post
            I find it strange that Colney Hatch discharged Kozminski relieved yet he was sent to Leavesden. Do you think this means he was what was classed then as an imbecile? My Great Aunt died in Leavesden in 1916 and she was said to be "a bit simple". Also when Kozminski had to go to court about the unmuzzled dog his brother Woolfe had to speak up for him. It does seem he needed support.
            No Pat, Kosminski was never classified as being of 'imbecile', as under the !890 Lunacy Act of the day. The very fact that he was able to maintain transient employment as a barber would rule this out.

            Earlier assessments made at Colney Hatch Asylum suggest that he experience auditory hallucinations ( the'dreaded voices') and had delusional ideation concerning food which might suggest that his paranoia extended to believing that someone was trying to poison him. Add to this and other problems , it was further reported that he refused to wash or bathe. The staff would not have been impressed.

            There is very little evidence to suggest that he was prone to outbreaks of actual violence, so I suspect that a combination of poor hygiene, possible paranoid schizophrenia and a tendency to 'take matters into hand', so to speak ,was sufficient for his admission to Leavesden, the Colney Hatch staff probably having got fed up with him. That he allegedly prefered to converse in Yiddish would not have assisted him either.!
            Cheers,
            Merv
            Be nice to one another!
            Merv

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            • #7
              Rob House discusses this point on p. 191 of "JTR and the Case for Scotland Yard's Prime Suspect". He says that despite their name, the regulations provided for those classified as lunatics and idiots to be admitted to the Imbeciles' Asylums as well as imbeciles, provided they were chronic and harmless. Though he notes that some acute and/or dangerous cases were also admitted.


              Incidentally, the Leavesden Hospital History Association also has a website and Facebook page and sends out news bulletins by email:
              http://www.leavesdenhospital.org/

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