High Royds Hospital, Menston, Ilkley, Yorkshire: a corridor. Pencil drawing by Paul Digby, 2003-2004.
- Digby, Paul.
- 03/04 [March 2004]
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About this work
High Royds was a Victorian lunatic asylum, subsequently a psychiatric hospital, built in 1888. Previous names include West Riding Mental Hospital (by 1929-1948), Menston Mental Hospital (1949-1951), and Menston Hospital (1952-1963). It closed in February-March 2003.
"Just before the final closure of High Royds Hospital, before the contractors moved in to convert the place into private housing, there was a week of events ensuring that the end of over 100 years of hospital care on this site did not go unmarked. Events included guided tours of the hospital, an artist working on the walls of the old library and an art therapy workshop was offered to patients on one of the remaining wards ... The tour passed through the old library where the artist Paul Digby was making a wall drawing for the occasion. The drawing was of rooms inside the hospital that he remembered. He had invited people to talk to him about what he was doing and paper was provided for people to write thoughts about the closure. Comments were mixed; some expressed sadness at the passing of such an established institution. Other remarks included 'I'm glad it's going', 'I was frightened when I was a patient here'. The passing of High Royds Hospital as one of the last large institutions to close down does indeed mark part of something important. These buildings witnessed and accommodated huge changes in social and economic conditions and in treatment and attitudes in mental health: a hundred years of history of ordinary men and women in Yorkshire"--Weston, op. cit.