Bethlem Museum of the Mind

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Founded in 1247, Bethlem Royal Hospital is now located in Beckenham, South London, as part of the wider South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The Archives and Museum service is dedicated to the history of mental health treatment, and includes historical and archival material as well as a large art collection. De-stigmatising mental illness is one of its major roles. The current museum is limited in space, but we are currently fundraising for a new museum.

Venue Type:

Archive, Museum

Opening hours

Please check before visiting.

Admission charges

Free

Getting there

Nearest Station: Eden Park / East Croydon
London Transport Travel Zone 5

By car:
From Central London, via Streatham or Crystal Palace to the A214. This passes the north end of Monks Orchard Road.

From further south, via the A232 Croydon to Orpington Road. This passes the south end of Monks Orchard Road just west (the Croydon side) of West Wickham.

By train:
From Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo East or London Bridge to Eden Park, via trains travelling to Hayes (Kent). Four trains per hour from London Bridge: journey time 30 minutes. Walking time from Eden Park Station, 15 minutes, or take the 356 bus from outside the station to Bethlem Royal Hospital.

From Victoria, frequent fast trains to East Croydon: journey time about 15 minutes. Buses from outside the station, travelling towards West Wickham, Nos. 119, 194 and 198, pass the south end of Monks Orchard Road. Walking time from the bus stop, 5 minutes.

By bus:
Bethlem Royal Hospital is at the Shirley end of the 356 route, which runs to Forest Hill.

The Bethlem site:
Bethlem Hospital occupies a large site and the buildings are widely scattered, but it is easy to find the Archives and Museum, which is close to the entrance. If you are on foot, turn right just inside the gate, and you will find our building a little way down the road on the right hand side. It is well signed. This is a service road, and the traffic barrier is opened only for Heavy Goods Vehicles: so if you are driving you will have to turn left and follow the signs, working your way round until you are nearly back where you started. You may find it easiest to park in the visitor's car park near the gate, or outside in Monks Orchard Road, and walk the short distance to our building.

Additional info

Archives and reference library open to the public by appointment only. Museum opening hours cannot be guaranteed at all times. Please telephone to check before planning a visit.

Collections illustrate aspects of mental health and mental healthcare. They include archives of Bethlem Hospital (the original 'Bedlam') and the Maudsley Hospital (founded in the 20th century, influential in psychiatric teaching and research). Historical objects relate mainly to Bethlem. The unique art collection contains works by artists, past and present, who have suffered from mental health problems. It comes from many sources, not only from the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospitals.

Collection details

Archives, Fine Art, Medicine, Personalities, Social History

Key artists and exhibits

  • Richard Dadd
  • Louis Wain
  • William Kurelek
  • Jonathan Martin
  • Vaslav Nijinsky
  • Cynthia Pell
  • Caius Gabriel Cibber's statues of 'Raving and Melancholy Madness' from 17th century Bedlam
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

Bryan Charnley: The Art of Schizophrenia

  • 16 February — 22 May 2015 *on now

The paintings of Bryan Charnley (1949-1991) used visual metaphor and symbolism to vividly illustrate the physical experience of schizophrenia, an illness Charnley lived with from adolescence until his premature death in 1991.

Bringing together works from the Bethlem collection and many rarely seen works from the Estate of Bryan Charnley, this exhibition looks back at Charnley’s life and work – from his early photo-realist inspired portraits and cityscapes to the direct expression and communication of his later allegorical paintings, many inspired by other works in the Bethlem collection. ‘Here I saw art stripped of all esoteric and conceptual pretensions’, he wrote, ‘I gladly adopted this approach which seemed to be more vital than any current “-ism”’

The first major retrospective of this British artist, Bryan Charnley will also be the inaugural exhibition in Bethlem’s new Museum of the Mind.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://museumofthemind.org.uk/whats-on/exhibition-info/bryan-charnley-the-art-of-schizophrenia

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Museums at Night: Who knows where the bodies are buried?

  • 14 May 2015 From 7pm

Wolfson Room, Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Jay Carver and Marit Leenstra of Crossrail's Archaeology Unit unlock the secrets of the Bethlem Churchyard.

Suitable for

  • Not suitable for children

Website

http://museumofthemind.org.uk/whats-on/event-info/museums-at-night-who-knows-where-the-bodies-are-buried

Getting there

Nearest Station: Eden Park / East Croydon
London Transport Travel Zone 5

By car:
From Central London, via Streatham or Crystal Palace to the A214. This passes the north end of Monks Orchard Road.

From further south, via the A232 Croydon to Orpington Road. This passes the south end of Monks Orchard Road just west (the Croydon side) of West Wickham.

By train:
From Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo East or London Bridge to Eden Park, via trains travelling to Hayes (Kent). Four trains per hour from London Bridge: journey time 30 minutes. Walking time from Eden Park Station, 15 minutes, or take the 356 bus from outside the station to Bethlem Royal Hospital.

From Victoria, frequent fast trains to East Croydon: journey time about 15 minutes. Buses from outside the station, travelling towards West Wickham, Nos. 119, 194 and 198, pass the south end of Monks Orchard Road. Walking time from the bus stop, 5 minutes.

By bus:
Bethlem Royal Hospital is at the Shirley end of the 356 route, which runs to Forest Hill.

The Bethlem site:
Bethlem Hospital occupies a large site and the buildings are widely scattered, but it is easy to find the Archives and Museum, which is close to the entrance. If you are on foot, turn right just inside the gate, and you will find our building a little way down the road on the right hand side. It is well signed. This is a service road, and the traffic barrier is opened only for Heavy Goods Vehicles: so if you are driving you will have to turn left and follow the signs, working your way round until you are nearly back where you started. You may find it easiest to park in the visitor's car park near the gate, or outside in Monks Orchard Road, and walk the short distance to our building.

Bethlem Museum of the Mind
Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road
Beckenham
Kent
BR3 3BX
England

Website

www.museumofthemind.org.uk

E-mail

Museum

victoria.northwood@slam.nhs.uk

Archives

colin.gale@slam.nhs.uk

Education and Outreach

caroline.smith@slam.nhs.uk

General enquiries

heather.reed@slam.nhs.uk

Telephone

020 3228 4227

Archivist

020 3228 4053

Education and Outreach

020 3228 4537

Fax

General

020 3228 4045

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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