MEMBERS were given a talk on the history of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital at the June meeting.
Mark Stevens, senior archivist at the Berkshire Record Office, spoke about the hospital in Crowthorne, which opened in 1863 and catered for thousands of mental patients in the 1900s.
At that time care for “lunatics” was inconsistent and Broadmoor was built to relieve the pressure on the overcrowded Bethlem Hospital in London, where patients were left chained up, hungry and naked.
Convict labourers were used to build the eight-block hospital between 1861 and 1868. The women’s blocks were finished first and eight patients were transferred from Bethlem in 1863.
By the end of 1864 there were 90 women and 300 men at the hospital.