Bethlem Royal Hospital Founder’s Day 1971

Bethlem Royal Hospital Founder’s Day 1971


Bethlehem Bethlem Bethlem Royal Hospital for the treatment of psychiatric illness standing to-day some seven hundred years after its foundation for the small, thirteenth century priory in the City of London the Bethlem Royal Hospital’s grown to its present size and here it commemorates its foundation [A BAND IS PLAYING, THERE IS BIRDSONG, AND PEOPLE ARE TALKING] [THE BAND CONTINUES TO PLAY[ Representing links in the hospital’s history with church and state are the Lord Mayor and the Lord Bishop of London and both attend to-day’s Founder’s Day Ceremony beginning with a service in the Lady Wakefield Chapel [ORGAN MUSIC[ [ORGAN FANFARE] [THE CONGREGATION SINGS ‘OUR GREAT REDEEMER’ WITH ORGAN ACCOMPANIMENT[ [THE CONGREGATION SINGS SEVERAL VERSES OF THE HYMN] The Bishop of London gives the sermon – ‘from the earliest days the Christian church has been concerned with healing the sick in mind and body and in seeking to prevent illness. This religious purpose (the sermon fades) The healing of the sick has also for centuries been Bethlem’s concern since 1247 when Simon Fitzmary Alderman and Sherff of the City of London established the small priory of St. Mary of Bethlehem later known as Bedlam in the parish of St. Botolph’s without Bishopsgate. A charter of 1547 granted Bethlem to the City of London and the hospital was later rebuilt, overlooking Moorfields where its administration came officially under the Aldermen and Lord Mayor of London and the presence of to-day’s Lord Mayor of London seen after the service preserves this link with the hospital’s long history. [CLAPPING] The Lord Mayor – ‘well, the Bethlem Hospital, was, until the eighteenth century the only public institution in the country to look after the mentally sick who could not afford to pay for private care.’ (The end of the Lord Mayor’s speech.’ While at Moorfields Bethlem, being the only charitable institution of its kind attracted much public curiosity. Sight seers would pass through the hospital gates where stood Cibber’s in chains statues of raving and melancholy madness One visitor, who well documented the interior of the hospital was the painter, Hogarth. In the final print of his series ‘The Rake’s Progress’ visitors are seen viewing life in the wards much as an entertainment. It was during this period that the name Bedlam acquired its well-known connotations. But the building, just as the social attitudes of the time, eventually crumbled and the hospital moved to a site, in St. George’s Fields, Sorthwark. Bethlem has to-day come far from the original priory. and the Bishop of London , remembering its long past here makes a plea for closer relationships between doctors and clergy The Bishop of London – ‘The growing together of two professions which when this hospital was founded were not really separate. What is needed always is love and compassion as the motive force of all that is done which is to be found in every hospital I know it is to be found, here in this hospital whose founders’ day we celebrate and so to God Almighty Father, Son and Holy Spirit [INDISTINCT PRAYER] Majesty dominion and power henceforth and for ever more Amen. Another voice, perhaps the hospital chaplain ‘for God Almighty [INDISTINCT] and giveth medicine to deal with their sickness whose tender mercies [INDISTINCT] with humble gratitude [INDISTINCT] Simon Fitzmary of blessed memory’ Also remembered in Bethlem’s history is Sir Charles Hood made first Resident Physician Superintendant in 1852 when alterations to the building in Southwark had given it its characteristic dome under which to-day is housed the Imperial War Museum. Here, Sir Charles Hood supervised a major series of reforms. Wards were comfortably furnished. Entertainments and excursions were organised for the patients. Kindness, on the part of the attendants, became a reality rather than the unfulfilled ideal it had so often been in the past A teaching program was also instituted which marked the first really progressive steps in modern psychiatry. Bethlem’s union with the Maudsley Hospital in 1948 continued this progression and helped give to the hospital the reputation it now has in its present Beckenham beautiful surroundings where to-day’s Founders’ Day service takes place. The Bishop of London – ‘Go forth into the world rejoicing [INDISTINCT PRAYER] Amen.’ [ORGAN MUSIC] The Bethlem Royal Hospital together with the Maudsley Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry has become known as the most prominent post graduate centre for psychiatry within the United Kingdom the Commonwealth, and Europe that still remains deeply indebted to its founder. [ORGAN MUSIC]

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