Large yellow building

Living Memories: a project by OpenStoryTellers

Long Stay in Mendip

In thinking about our upcoming exhibition – a collection of photos of home-life by people with learning disabilities – we have recently revisited a wonderful project by OpenStoryTellers. A big thank you to them for sharing it with us.

The Living Memories project included a film and exhibition where they collected stories from former staff and residents of Norah Fry and Selwood long-stay institutions.

About fifty years ago, around 55 thousand people with learning disabilities lived in big institutions like these. They were called ‘mental handicap hospitals’ and were run by the NHS. Residents very often received very basic care, and were kept away from the rest of society.

In the 70s, attitudes began to change and slowly the ‘mental handicap hospitals’ closed down when community-based services were created.

It’s absolutely fascinating to hear and read these first hand accounts. Have a read of the exhibition leaflet: Long Stay in Mendip – Living Memories – an exhibition and watch the Youtube clip below.