“I think the best way is to treat everybody as an individual and a human being first and foremost, and go from there really.”    Lisa, 2012

When the project began our group took its first  trip to Felixstowe Museum, where a lot of material from St Audry’s own museum was already on display.  Next stop was the Museum of East Anglian Life, where things were coming out of store for the first time since the hospital closed down.  After that, we visited the Suffolk Record Office in Ipswich where the St Audry’s archive is lodged, including photographs, reports,  staff and patient records (many of them still closed). Finally we went to the former hospital site in Melton, now converted to desirable homes. We were able to visit the burial ground but found it difficult to identify many of the graves – including, sadly, that of the pioneering Dr Kirkman, the hospital’s  first Medical Superintendent. As well as looking back at the history of the hospital, the St Audry’s project draws on people’s experiences to make modern comparisons with therapies and attitudes to mental health and well-being.

It has been interesting to see how some of Dr Kirkman’s early ideas, like the benefits of outdoor exercise and occupation, are currently coming full circle, though not always so comforting to reflect on some of the less enlightened turns that psychiatric medicine has taken. You can click on the names below to explore some of the responses of members of the St Audry’s Project group: