Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Books



Many books have been written about Asylums though to my knowledge only two about Fairmile. In this blog I will be reviewing three. The third one is called Life in the Victorian Asylum by Mark Stevens of the Berkshire Records Office, this was the first of the three to be published which I read. Mark has given some very interesting talks on the subject and they are well worth going to. His book Life in a Victorian Asylum tells you what life was like if you were a patient and in the first half of the book explains what life will be like and what you would expect. It's as if the Physician was talking to you. His tour round the building is just like being there in person but then from my point of view I could tell what ward or corridor he was taking you as I have walked the same places. In the second half he gives some detail on some of the patients who were there and tells you how Caring for the mentally disturbed had changed in the time Fairmile was open. The book was based on both Fairmile & Broadmoor the latter I might add I have never been to.  The book I found was amusing in places and gave a good insight as to life in the Asylum



The second Book called Fair Mile Hospital A Victorian Asylum is by Ian Wheeler and he gives you the history of Fair Mile form it's beginnings to when it closed in 2003. Tells of the changes to the place and the story from the people who ran it's point of view. It helped that Ian started out tracing his relatives who worked at the Asylum and it's backed up with may old photos of the people who worked there not to mention a good few form me in the form more modern ones.


The third book by Diana Macintyre DeLuca is about her Mother Mary Fairburn who worked at Fairmile from 1935 - 1939. Diana send me the first chapter which I read and I found I could walk around the place from memory. I started sending her some photos of the places mentioned and ended up reading the whole book before it was published.  The Fairmile part only covers a few chapters but is true to life and I ended up going to the next Hospital she was at to get a couple of photos of how that looked now.  In truth I found it a fascinating story of the Mary Fairburn's life from Fairmile to when she finished working at a Prison in Canada


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