To Glenside Museum

An exploration of information and exhibits at Glenside Museum in Bristol

church like interior of Glenside Museum

On Wednesday 30th March I visited Glenside Museum in Bristol. Researching into different institutions in Bristol that were significant for the lives of deaf and disabled people brought me to discover this interesting site and its history. Welcomed by Stella Man, the projects manager at Glenside Hospital Museum, I embarked on a wealthy exploration of information and exhibits.

The hospital quickly expanded, accommodating over 1000 patients at any one time.

Glenside houses collections relating to the history of Bristol Psychiatric and Learning Disability Hospitals.  The museum is on the site that now holds University of the West of England Faculty of Health and Social Care, though delivered Nurse’s training since 1880’s. Opened in 1861 as The Bristol Lunatic Asylum built for 300 patients the hospital quickly expanded to accommodating over 1000 patients at any one time, apart from three years as a War Hospital from 1915 to 1919 when it specialised in orthopaedics. The hospital closed in 1994.

You can explore the wide range of exhibits within the fascinating setting of the hospital chapel, a Grade II listed building built in 1881 for the patients. I found listening to the oral histories from those involved with Glenside as workers or family members engaging and often very touching. Stella and I had a stimulating discussion about the exhibits and how Glenside’s history links with the research we are undertaking at History Of Place. Let’s see if there are some interesting links in the future.

You can visit Glenside museum from 10am- 12:30pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays, at The Chapel in UWE Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton.Bristol, BS16 1DD.

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