“The most important aim was to improve the quality of the patients’ day.” (Jean Dickey, former occupational therapy assistant at St Audry’s)

Cakeboards, party streamers, jigsaws, hobby horses, bird baths and weathervanes – these are just some of the many items made by patients at St Audry’s.  In the Victorian period, Dr Kirkman made sure to keep the patients occupied as it was soon realised that this was a really effective step in battling mental illness.  This became officially known as ‘occupational therapy’ from the 1930s and 40s.  The men were employed in gardening and farm labour and the women in needlework, cleaning and the laundry.  Jean Dickey said: “It was good in one way because we were getting people to come out of where they live and go to work, which to me, is a natural happening for all of us.”

 

Advertisements