Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Kingsley Hall's hidden (painting) and non-existent memorials
Mary Barnes, artist, (Born 9.2.1923 - Died 29.6.2001), lived in this building from 6.6.1965 to May 1970

Thank you to everyone who helped and is helping to construct the unofficial catalogue of Mary Barnes in Bow
The exhibition closed on Sunday 29.3.2015 - but together we are preserving and developing its legacy.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

1562 Commotion when a needle is lost. This tool was precious. "Until far on in the sixteenth century, there was not a needle to be had but of foreign manufacture" (Stone 1840)
"A lytle thing with an hole in the end, as bright as any syller,
Small, longe, sharpe at the poynt, and straight as any pyller."
(Gammer Gurton's Needle)

"In all ages woman may lament the ungallant silence of the historian" 

The art of needle-work from the earliest ages : including some notices of the ancient historical tapestries by Mrs Elizabeth Stone, edited by Mary Margaret Stanley Egerton, Countess of Wilton. London: Henry Colburn 1840. ix and 405 pages. 1841 edition available at Project Gutenberg

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What became the Enfield (Ponders End) part of Middlesex University was originally an engineering college specialising in armaments and electricity. It differed from every other part in being almost exclusively male. After he first world war its school was divided into houses named after Isaac Newton, Christopher Wren and George and Robert Stephenson. After the second world war it dumped Wren, replacing him with Joseph Whitworth, and added a new house named after Michael Faraday. The first Principal (1941-1950) Henry Winterbottom Broadbent, was a Lancashire engineer and in the Stephensons and Whitworth the college looked north for its inspiration. More recently, the University has promoted women in engineering.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Myth means so many things. An architectural historian writes that the story that the Moorfields Bedlam was modelled on a French Palace is a myth, but an old one. She means it is untrue. But what is the Moorfields architecture if it is not a myth in the sense of a story packed with meaning? The meaning is elaborated in a poem after the symbol is built, but are we to believe that the rulers of the City of London, who paid for this expensive edifice, woke up one morning in horrified surprise that anyone should think there was meaning to mad people being displayed in a palace built in the French style?

The architecture of unreason was to be  counterbalanced to the architecture of reason being developed in the city cathedral of St Paul's. The mathematics for the dome of St Paul's was developed by the Moorfield's architect.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

One way to get a grip on the long history of Bedlam may be to compare it with the long history of hospitals for inocentes (mad people) in Spain, and then to track back from there to Islam's legacy to Spain.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

When Angela Sweeney began her research she was not looking for anything frightening. However, she used grounded theory to analyse the discussions in focus groups and found fear was a key issue.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Sometimes the exhibit itself becomes the story. The 1997 "Bedlam, Custody, Care and Cure 1247-1997" exhibition at the Museum of London presented these two pictures of a ward as depicted by Hogarth in 1735 and a ward depicted in 1867  Peter Beresford described the exhibition as being in "classic modernist terms of centuries of progress, culminating in modern psychiatry"  He thought it was insensitivee to "issues of difference and discrimination" and reduced the "experience of thousands of inmates ... to a handful of indecipherable photographs posed in hospital wards and grounds, and select biographies of the famous and curious few". Are the exhibits at the present Museum of the Mind a subtler presentation?