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Retreat Patients

c 1875 - 1920s
RET 1/8/6/7
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About this work


Some of these photographs are of informal groups, including both staff and patients. Others seem to have been photographs that were specially taken, or acquired, of particular individual patients. There are also a great many early 1890s head and shoulders photographs of patients in the ‘carte de visite’ format which were obviously taken at around the same time. Unlike some other asylums, the Retreat did not make a practice of inserting standardised photographs of patients into its case books (there are a few patients’ photographs in the late 19th century-early 20th century Retreat case notes, but the ones which were put in are of many different shapes and sizes). Nevertheless, the survival of a large number of photographs of the same type and period does indicate that for a short time at least, patients were systematically photographed (and copies of some of the images were pasted into the case books). Many photographs are annotated on the back with patient’s name and admission date – this might indicate that photographing was done because of the interest of a particular doctor. There are many more images of men than of women, which may indicate either that not all photographs have survived, or else – and this is possibly more likely – the photography was centred on particular wards or groups. The Retreat does not seem to have been using a dedicated ‘studio’ for the photographs: clearly some were taken inside the Retreat, but others were taken out in the grounds. Photographs arranged in 40 parts.


c 1875 - 1920s

Physical description

100 photographs

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