Now & Then
"The only thing that is constant is change" -Heraclitus of Ephesus; ancient Greek philosopher 535-475B.C.
There may be some truth in this statement, as invariably things change over the years.
The 20th. Century heralded many significant changes, in areas such as Transport, Social living, Technology, Architecture & Healthcare.
Changes in the latter; Architecture & Healthcare in particular, meant that as the Century progressed,
many advances in Medicine & Healthcare were made. What happened wasn't only confined to physical changes.
Attitudes towards those suffering from Mental illnesses changed as the 20th. Century rolled on.
These changes in attitudes were displayed most prominently through the design of Hospital Buildings.
At the beginning of the 20th. Century, Hospitals for the Mentally ill were called Lunatic or County Asylums,
and were generally laid-out as a maze of huge rambling buildings, often reflecting popular Architectural styles of the time,
and surrounded by sprawling Grounds, designed & landscaped to rival the grandest Country Houses.
When the Second Essex County Asylum opened in 1913, it was considered to be one of the most modern and up-to-date Asylums in England.
By the 1930's, "Asylums" were no more -at least in name.
The name Mental Hospital brought it's own changes, such as breaking-up the monolithic designs.
The "Echelon" (Broad & Compact Arrow) layout was replaced by "Colony" and "Trident" Hospital layouts.
With Great Britain going to War in September of 1939, any plans for further Mental Hospitals were abruptly halted.
Severalls Mental Hospital was commandeered for a second time, and for the duration of World War II, was used as a War Hospital.
Severalls Hospital had survived two World Wars, albeit suffering the horrors of being bombed in 1942.
Severalls Hospital saw three Medical Superintendents, as well as hundreds of Doctors, Nurses, Artisans come and go over the years.
Severalls Hospital was, of course, also home to thousands of people, who were given the best care available at the time.
In the early decades of the 20th. Century, Patients were considered similar to "Inmates", with very few who entered ever returning back home.
However, as attitudes changed towards these Patients; our fellow Human Beings, so too did the Treatments and Therapies.
New drugs, the introduction of Electric Shock Treatment, experiments with the brain: these any many more remain controversial to this day.
The wheels of change, as we all know, can sometimes turn slowly, with perhaps wrong turns and mistakes being made along the way.
The "Decade of Change" at Severalls Hospital in the 1960's, radically challenged the "Old Guard" views and opinions on the way things were done.
The Hospital Buildings and the Grounds have seen a lot of changes, over a multitude of Generations.....if only the walls could speak!