Looking Back

Gone to the devil: the murals of Ile Royale hospital

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.311.7021.1713 (Published 23 December 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1713
  1. A J Davidson, systems engineer, Matra Marconi Spacea
  1. aStevenage, Hertfordshire SG1 2EX

    Off the coast of French Guiana lie three small islands, one of which became famous a century ago when Alfred Dreyfus was incarcerated there: Devil's Island has become synonymous with penal servitude. The name encompassed the whole penal colony of Le Bagne, and to be “sent to the devil” or “go to the devil” has become an everyday phrase.

    On the largest island, Ile Royale, are the official residences and the prison hospital, now deserted, though access through the window arch is not difficult. On the ground floor, in what could have been a small …

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