Bethlem Royal Hospital was founded in 1247 and was the first institution in the UK to specialise in the care of the mentally ill. The hospital continues to provide in-patient care as part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and has been based in south London since 1930.
Situated within the hospital grounds, Bethlem Museum of the Mind was formally opened by artist Grayson Perry in March 2015. The museum cares for an internationally renowned collection of archives, art and historic objects, which together offer an unparalleled resource to support the history of mental healthcare and treatment.
10:00-17:00 (last entry 16:30)
Open to public:
Wednesday-Friday (except public holidays)
Saturday (first and last of the month)
Pre-booked groups only:
Monday and Tuesday
Archives open by appointment only.
This October 2017 until February 2018, Bethlem Museum of the Mind will host Art of Recovery, a temporary exhibition curated by Bravo 22, an arts programme sponsored by the Royal British Legion. The exhibition will showcase sculptures created by service personnel and veterans in response to their experience of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
To complement the exhibition, the Museum will offer a variety of talks, events and activities, co-curated by clinical teams and current patients, to reflect on the subject of PTSD, looking particularly at the triggers for these most challenging of experiences and the ways in which they have been explored and examined through art, therapy, literature and within specific historical contexts.
Free entry – all welcomeFull Details
A British soldier on tour in Afghanistan faces a one-in-four chance of being killed or wounded. In response, almost every combatant will experience psychological problems. The stigma attached to sufferers of war trauma exacerbates the difficulty of readjustment on the return home, sometimes making integration into civilian life impossible. War-photographer Mark Neville who, after being embedded with troops in Helmand, suffered PTSD himself, tells his own story through images, as well as those of the soldiers whose experiences he documented.
In 2011, war photographer Mark Neville, spent three months working on the front line in Helmand, Afghanistan, with 16 Air Assault Brigade as an official war artist. The films and photographs he made there featured in a major solo show at The Imperial War Museum London in the Summer of 2014. More recently his war experience has resulted in The Battle Against Stigma Book Project, a collaboration between the artist and Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes, one of the UK’s leading experts in the field of veteran mental health. http://www.markneville.com/Full Details
A Heavy Reckoning explores the modern reality of medicine and injury in wartime, from the trenches of World War One to the dusty plains of Afghanistan and the rehabilitation wards of Headley Court in Surrey. What are the costs involved in this hardest of journeys back from the brink? Mixing stories of unexpected survival with insights into the frontline of medicine, Emily Mayhew examines the complexities of PTSD, the power and potential of rehabilitation, and how far we have come in saving, healing and restoring the human body.
Dr Emily Mayhew is a military medical historian specialising in the study of severe casualty, its infliction, treatment and long-term outcomes in 20th and 21st century warfare. She is historian in residence in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College, and a Research Fellow in the Division of Surgery within the Department of Surgery and Cancer. She is the author of Wounded: From Battlefield to Blighty 1914-1918, which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize 2014.
There will be a book signing after the event.Full Details
Shell shock is the phrase coined in World War I to describe what is now commonly referred to as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Professor Simon Wessely charts the evolution of military psychiatry, reviewing psychological disorders suffered by servicemen and women from 1900 to the present, considering the history of treatment in relation to contemporary medical priorities and health concerns.
Professor Sir Simon Wessely is Professor of Psychological Medicine and Regius Professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London and a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at King’s College and the Maudsley Hospitals.His doctorate is in epidemiology, and he has over 700 original publications, with an emphasis on the boundaries of medicine and psychiatry, unexplained symptoms and syndromes, population reactions to adversity, military health, epidemiology and others. He has co-authored books on chronic fatigue syndrome, randomised controlled trials and a history of military psychiatry. Professor Wessely is also President of the Royal Society of Medicine.Full Details
When conflict ends on the battlefield, it begins elsewhere. Matthew Green explores how veterans have struggled to adapt to post-war life, examining some of the ways in which we can better support those suffering from psychological injury who undertake the journey from soldier to civilian.
Matthew Green is a London-based journalist who previously spent 14 years working as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters. He was embedded with US Marines during the Iraq invasion and later spent time with US forces deployed in Afghanistan. In 2013, he returned to Britain to write his new book Aftershock: fighting war, surviving trauma and finding peace, which documents the lives of British veterans and their families as they cope with the devastating impact of post-traumatic stress disorder. He blogs about new horizons in trauma therapy at www.matthewgreenjournalism.com. Twitter @Matthew__Green
There will be a book signing following the event. Please bring cash or cheque if you wish to purchase a book.Full Details
We want to make learning as accessible as possible and welcome visits from schools, universities and community groups.
We are currently piloting several options for school visits.
Inside Psychology – These facilitated visits include a presentation on the hospital and the history of treatment, time in the museum and a question and answer session. We then add one/two of the following depending on the interests of the group and the availability of staff: an archive session, a workshop based on ethics in mental health care, an analytical session based on the painting The Maze (viewable on the website), an artefacts session.
Self-guided visits – These include a short introductory talk and a visit to the museum which now includes sections on labelling and diagnosis, freedom and constraint, temperament, treatments and recovery. Teachers are welcome to make an advance visit and develop their own activities.
We also take bookings for adult learner groups for self-guided visits. If requested in advance, we can also provide a talk and/or object handling sessions. We can also provide off-site talks; in return, we will ask for travel expenses to be paid, and a donation to be made to the museum. Please see the Learning page on our website for more information.
All our learning sessions are free but we do actively encourage donations to help it remain so.
Please contact us if you would like to book a visit or require further information.
Family historians may find information on patients in the Admission Registers and Medical Case Books. The Salary Books and Character Books may provide details about staff. Additional information can be found in the Court Books and the documents relating to Bethlem tenants and governors. Whilst using the WiFi at Bethlem Museum of the Mind you can also access Find Your Past for free.
Access to archives is by appointment only. Please fill out an online form detailing your request, available here.
Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road
Eden Park, East Croydon
119, 198 (from East Croydon), 356 (from Eden Park)