Better Court Than Coroners

A synopsis.  

For over thirty years I have been collating Social History, daily life, during one century in a Victorian built long-term psychiatric hospital (aka asylum). The work includes my own experience, supported by staff colleagues, as a student in the 1960s, and subsequently as Registered Mental Nurse and generic Senior Mental Health Social Worker, working in Graylingwell Hospital and Sussex  Community at large. It is an austere, sometimes dramatic, mostly routine duty-of-care history of day-to-day  workings of any closed similar old long-term caring institution.  Throughout the work, I am observer  and  one inquiring participant.

The record includes memories of long past staff, civilian and ex-military-service psychiatric patients. Thirty-plus years recording personal memories given in debates with  practitioners working (or who had worked ) in one or more of our long-stay mental hospitals. A Primary Source. Many of my informants date back to their working in the early 20th century – persons employed on site in Military, Health and Welfare care institutions. Narrative threads  woven into the uneven script include administrators, cleaners, clerks, cooks, doctors, engineers, mental-welfare-officers, nurses, occupational-therapists, painters, pharmacists, philosophers, physicists, porters, psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, relieving officers and social workers, volunteers and ward-orderlies – even a 1940 hospital shepherd and his family (who lived on the hospital estate). …  And of course – our patients.

The Book is written in Two separate Volumes. A narrative with personal memories, aided by considerable research and observations – including self-observation.   And a detailed  Appendix, as background, which includes – one hundred years of  Graylingwell’s year-by-year Social History in chronological abstracts; its life and times; topography; tithe maps; and numerous  illustrations with b&w and coloured photographs. And  many collated and captioned contemporary forms and interviews taken from transcripts of personal field and hospital surveys; the whole together, are testimonies, of my own and older colleagues (living and many, since deceased) – like a Topsy compendium. …  A way of life no longer existent.

Local and Social History  

The Lands of Graylingwell West Sussex History (3 parts) , authored as Barone C Hopper:

Article One – No. 39, January 1988. p1-7. Illustrated. Detailed history on the land ownership of Graylingwell Hospital, Chichester – from earliest times.

Article Two – No. 40, May 1988.

Article Three – No. 41, August 1988 (includes copies of Estate Plans 1767 – 1894). Illustrated.A tribute to all carers – by Polly Ghazi. Evening Argus centrefold (review on my research work (to date) of compassion in Graylingwell). May 16th 1988

100 Years of Sanctuary – Illustrated booklet produced to accompany the author’s  30 minute documentary video. Privately Published 1997, and available from AMAZON.

Social Worker dispels myth of coldness, cruelty:  Littlehampton Gazette (100 Years of Sanctuary review), January 2nd 1998.

Professional Health and Social Work  

Article by Jackie Giles, Worthing Gazette, on aspects of my (then) social work: One man’s answer to vandalism: Full activity for the Problem Kids, help for disadvantaged kids.  (On 1969 Children and Young Persons Act. Intermediate treatment, work.) Worthing Gazette, June 21st, 1978.

Mental Health Directory (pre-digital and computers) for  Worthing, Littlehampton, Shoreham and Chanctonbury District; West Sussex County Council. 1984

West Sussex County Council, The First 100 Years. Editors Kim Leslie, et. al. (Contributor of material to…..) December 1988.

Early Social Services in Worthing, and The Forty Thieves in Worthing;  The Whistler (House Journal, Editor John Munro (Arundel)) Summer 1991.
St. James Hospital Chichester and Social Work Roots in Scotland;   The Whistler Summer 1992.

Looking at the Past, the origins of Mental Health Social Work. The Relieving Officer 1834 to 1948. Celebrating 100 Years of Health Related Social Work. With pics, published by the WSCC, 3rd November 1995

Mental Health nursing in the 1950s and 1960s revisited: Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 1997, 4, 333-338 (1997 Blackwell Science Limited) – co-author with Professor Peter Nolan.

Journal of Mental Health, 2000, 9, 6, 563-573(University of Birmingham)  Revisiting mental health nursing in the 1960s – co-author with Professor Peter Nolan.

Ephemera – Occasional Writings and Published Photographs

Ready for the Hydrogen Bomb Tests: Christmas Island, inThe Pacific. Five Published photos (with captions in the Illustrated London News – May 11, 1957 – pp761. (Pics also published in Manchester and rural newspapers.) Central Press Photos, 6/7 Gough Sq. London (Now Getty Collection?)  (Whilst serviceman abroad on Xmas Island.)

Bits of Moss (House Journal) for Moss Bros of Covent Garden: three illustrated pieces / photos and captions for journal; West End League Presentation Dance , The Moss Bros Trophy & Moss Bros Soccer Team; Spring 1959. (Whilst Query Clerk in Moss Bros, Covent Garden)

Article – Plant Milk  (on Dr. Hugh Franklin, bio-chemist’s invention): published in magazine The Atlantean, September 1963, London.

Illustrated article Christmas Islanders published in Exploration,  Monthly (Journal of the International Anthropological Society), May 1965.
Ditto, Illustrated article, Panama, August 1965

Teach Yourself 16 Dances, Ballroom, Latin, Jazz and Rock n’  Roll, for New England Library (NEL): unfinished project, shelved (whilst Dancing Teacher for Arthur Murray inc., 167 Oxford Street, London. 1959 – 1962).