Bethlem Royal Hospital, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The official page of Bethlem Royal Hospital, London in the London Borough of Bromley. The hospital was founded in 1247 and is home to a number of our specialist services for people from across the UK such as our anxiety disorders residential unit. Bedlam: the asylum and beyondSouth London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Maudsley Charity have been working in partnership with Bethlem Gallery and Museum and the Adamson Collection Trust to support a new exhibition at Wellcome Collection. Bedlam: the asylum and beyond explores the history of the mental health hospital through the lens of Bethlem Royal Hospital, and opens on 15 September.
The exhibition follows the rise and fall of the mental asylum and explores how it has shaped the complex landscape of mental health today.
Taking Bethlem Royal Hospital as a starting point, ‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ displays historical material and medical records alongside individual testimonies and works by artists, emphasising the perspectives and lived experiences of individuals.
The exhibition has been co-curated by Mike Jay a Trustee of Bethlem Museum of the Mind, author and historian, alongside Wellcome Collection’s Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz. Mike says: “Preserved in popular imagination as ‘Bedlam’, the Bethlem Royal Hospital is perhaps the oldest institution of its kind in the world, and has witnessed the entire history of mental illness and psychiatry. Its story is the perfect focus for Wellcome Collection to explore how medicine, art and culture define mental illness, and the big questions it raises about the individual and society.”
A key part of the project is the collaboration between Bethlem Gallery & Museum and Wellcome Collection which sees a number of works on display by Contemporary Artists as well as objects from the historical archives on display.
Also on show is ‘Abandoned Goods’ an essay film by Pia Borg and Edward Lawrenson tells the story of over 5500 pieces of patient artwork, collectively known as the Adamson Collection. Much of the work is still available for the public to see at Lambeth Hospital.
‘Bedlam: the asylum and beyond’ will run at Wellcome Collection from 15 September 2016 to 15 January 2017.
This Way Madness Lies: The asylum and beyond, a book by Mike Jay produced to accompany the exhibition, is published by Thames & Hudson.
You can find out more about the exhibition here: https://wellcomecollection.org/bedlam
Bringing the themes of the exhibition to south London a parallel series of exhibitions and events will run across South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and partners between September and January including major exhibitions at Bethlem Gallery and Museum and Maudsley Long Gallery.
Notes to editors
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Bethlem Royal Hospital
Bethlem Royal Hospital is the oldest psychiatric hospital in the world and is a provider of mental health services for people locally and specialist services for people from across the U.K. Today the hospital is part of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest providers of mental health services in England. For more information on our services please visit: www.slam.nhs.uk