This won’t hurt – Images of St. Matthews Hospital, Burntwood

Following my post earlier this week about Burntwood Asylum – latterly St .Matthews Hospital – I have been bowled over by the response of readers to what I thought might be a taboo subject. From reader responses – including some excellent work by Paul Ford, of Walsall Local History Centre – it seems I have much reading to do and there is more information on the subject the now long-gone facility about than I thought. In the meantime, I pulled the excellent and fascinating book ‘This Won’t Hurt: A History of the Hospitals of Lichfield‘ by Mary Hutchinson, Ingrid Croot and Anna Sadowski (ISBN 978-0-9565225-0-4) off the shelf and thought I’d share some of the images with readers. The book is still widely available from outlets in Lichfield at the very reasonable price of around seven quid – I bought mine from the St. Mary’s Heritage Centre, but I think Smiths also have it.

Please buy a copy, it’s brilliant. My thanks to the authors.

Still available from stores - but apparently sold out on Amazon. Get one while you can.
I mentioned in my original post that there were often postcards of asylums - and so there is one of St, Matthews, Burntwood. Sent by and anonymous reader, whom I thank.
The buildings look quite dark and large, but generally they were quite light, airy places, as the Victorians believed (with some basis in reality) that fresh air and sunlight were crucial to mental healing. Taken from 'This Won't Hurt: A History of the Hospitals of Lichfield' by Mary Hutchinson, Ingrid Croot and Anna Sadowski.
Sadly, no date for this image is given, anybody able to speculate based on the crisp uniforms? Taken from 'This Won't Hurt: A History of the Hospitals of Lichfield' by Mary Hutchinson, Ingrid Croot and Anna Sadowski.
Even in the late Victorian era, St. Matthews thad a rich social life. I wonder how common it was for people in those days to have a photo of themselves to hand? Taken from 'This Won't Hurt: A History of the Hospitals of Lichfield' by Mary Hutchinson, Ingrid Croot and Anna Sadowski.
The clock tower on the Administration Building was a common feature of many a Victorian Asylum, as was a water tower. They were mostly built on hills to maximise the exposure to fresh air, so needed substantial water infrastructure. Not sure if Burntwood had one. Taken from 'This Won't Hurt: A History of the Hospitals of Lichfield' by Mary Hutchinson, Ingrid Croot and Anna Sadowski.
This is a wonderful curio. Wonder what happened to the lamp? Taken from 'This Won't Hurt: A History of the Hospitals of Lichfield' by Mary Hutchinson, Ingrid Croot and Anna Sadowski.
Another interesting image, again, sadly undated. Such hospitals were surrounded by well-tended grounds and patients were encouraged to take the air and engage in such activity where possible. Taken from 'This Won't Hurt: A History of the Hospitals of Lichfield' by Mary Hutchinson, Ingrid Croot and Anna Sadowski.
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  1. ECT and the machine that wasn’t switched on | ECT statistics  March 30, 2018

    […] On 22 January 2018 the Birmingham Mail published an obituary of Tamworth GP Dr John Weston Smith, who had died aged 95. The obituary mentioned that he had provided anaesthesia for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) at St. Matthews Hospital in Burntwood. (You can see some historic photographs of St Matthews Hospital here.) […]

     

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