This set of historical documents was kindly provided by Derek Bunn
Dr Gill's 1910Report
The transformation in society's values and attitudes towards people with disabilities which has taken place over the last century becomes apparent when reading the remarkable report of the Westmorland Gazzette recording the views of the then eminent and respected Dr Frank Gill who in the early years of the 20th Century, held senior medical appointments at the Royal Albert, Brockhall and Calderstones Asylums. Over time, those institutions were to change and become Hospitals, but many of the original values and concepts of management and control, for which these institutions were designed, were were to persist.
Despite the inherent limitations of the buildings and structures in which they were obliged to live and work, the inmates/patients/residents and people as well as the staff who cared for them were able to slowly transform the ideas and values of the wider society which had proudly built and maintained these enormous monuments to what was believed to be civic altruism.
There are multiple records of the abuses and lack of care which occurred over the years in these institutions, which have been rightly condemned, but those criticisms have to be balanced against the unrecorded and unrecognised daily acts of humanity which took place in the poorly resourced and ignored places in which society had "put away" its problems, - "out of sight and out of mind."
It was staff from Brockhall and the other the North West hospitals, and former asylums which led the move to improve services for people with disabilities, often being the first to recognise that improvement required a transfer of care from hospitals/ institutions to well resourced community provision, and a consequent end to the security of their employment in Langho, Whalley or Lancaster.
Reviewing the ideas of Dr Gill, over a century later, you can appreciate just how far society's attitudes and values have changed in that time, and speculate on the changes which might be seen in the current century.
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