Adamson described Netherne Hospital as completely enclosed - all doors were locked and there was a fence around the grounds. When he first went to Netherne he was shocked to see the state of the patients, in 1946 lobotomies were still in use. The teeth of the patients were removed as sepsis was believed to be as cause of mental illness; false teeth were only given out at mealtimes. The art studio that Adamson created was a sanctuary within the hospital. Patients had no privacy on large wards, so Adamson set out the studio to allow each artist their own private space to work in.
|My drawing of the studio at Netherne|
At the Wellcome Library I've been able to view black and white photos of life at Netherne Hospital, however to protect the identities of the patients I am not able to share these. However I made my own sketches which I am able to show here.
|My sketch of an artist working in the studio at Netherne|
Adamson said the patients 'poured their souls out onto the paper'. The work enabled them to express difficult emotions and memories, and collaborate with their treatment.
|The gallery at Netherne|
Adamson set up a gallery at Netherne to display the artists's work. It was mostly intended to be seen by medical staff to aid their understanding of mental illness. Shown here is a stunning wood carved sculpture by one of the patients.