Everyone’s heard of Bedlam, the sobriquet for Bethlehem Hospital, that most notorious home to the infirm of mind. Not so many people realise that the institution lives on as Bethlem Royal Hospital, in Beckenham on the south-eastern fringes of London.
The Hospital has its own small museum dedicated to the history of Bedlam, of which more in a later post. It also runs an occasional events programme, and the latest talks have just been announced.
On Saturday 6 October (2pm), curators will give a short overview of the hospital’s history, from its origins in the 13th Century up to the modern era. On 10 October (2pm), attention turns to Stanley Lench, a talented artist and former patient of the hospital, whose work is currently on display in the Bethlem Gallery. Finally, on 3 November, there’s a talk about outsider art, and a last chance to view the hospital’s current display of the same.
For those who tremble at the thought of leaving Zone 2, the Hospital museum is also organising an event in central London. On 14 November (6pm), two talks at St Bartholomew’s Hospital Pathology Museum & Gallery again address the history of Bedlam.
All events are free. The Bethlem events do not require booking, while the St Bart’s event should be booked on the link above.