Medicine And The Media

Back to the future (again)

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 18 October 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1026
  1. Sean A Spence, MRC clinical training fellow and lecturer in psychiatry
  1. MRC Cyclotron Unit, Hammersmith Hospital, London

    Sean Spence finds contemporary psychiatry attempting to distance itself from the “cruelty” of the past in an exhibition commemorating 750 years of the Bethlem Royal Hospital. Bedlam: Custody, Care and Cure, can be seen at the Museum of London until 15 March 1998.

    The Museum of London is a densely packed menagerie, sequestered away in the labyrinthine Barbican area of the City of London. Currently, it hosts an exhibition commemorating 750 years of the Bethlem Royal Hospital, the world's oldest hospital for the mentally ill. The exhibition itself is an uneasy mix of the old and the new. In a darkened room display cases brim with exhibits culled from the Bethlem archives, augmented in places by those of the host museum. All the usual suspects are here: the brooding maniacal …

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