Our garden installation for ‘Taking a Turn’: mental health history of hospital gardens will be open to the public from 18 May – 5 June 2015 at Exchange Square, London EC2.
The garden explores the archives of mental health hospital gardens with contemporary voices from patients at Bethlem Royal Hospital on the original site of Bedlam hospital. An early airing court for visitors to take a turn outdoors is constructed of a healing plaster cast, with voices from patients past and present in its walls. It is set in past medics’ ideas of ‘cheerful and tranquil’ hospital gardens, of ghostly plants echoing the site’s historic setting. Miniature farm machinery can be seen hidden in the planting, referring to asylum farming in Victorian times.
Image thanks to the Wellcome Trust library, London