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By Claire Lomax for the Wharfedale Observer
WHILST following COVID guidelines former staff members of High Royds Hospital, who gave their lives in WW1 and WW2, were remembered in the restored High Royds Chapel with prayers and a special display.
Candles were lit and an illuminated soldier on a stand were featured together with a bronze memorial plaque with the names of the ten who were killed in WW1 and three inWW2. The original bronze commemorative plaque was stolen when High Royds Hospital closed in 2003 but the original wooden surround was found and a public subscription paid for the bronze plaque to be recast using existing photographs.
An original poppy from the Tower of London and a framed certificate also form part of the display. The 14 staff members remembered are:
WW1: J.W. Ackroyd, A.L. Appleby, J Currie, L. Holmes, W. Marshall, J.T. Mitchell, M. Nangle, W. Powell, F. Rastrick, E. Smith. WW2:. L.W.F. Dale H. Mounsey, W. Murrell.
On behalf of the Friends Ron (our chairman) attended the World Premiere of the film BETH at the Ilkley Cinema last Sunday ( November 1st) the article below is by By Emma Clayton of the Wharfedale Observer.
A TEENAGER has been shortlisted for a major award for her film about the former High Royds psychiatric hospital.
Aged just 14, Ava Bounds is a rising talent in the movie industry after being shortlisted for IMDb New Filmmaker Award, organised by one of the world’s most popular online sources for film and TV content.
Ava has written, directed and edited Beth, the story of a real life patient at High Royds when it was a Victorian asylum, which has its world premiere at Ilkley Cinema on Sunday before it travels to film festivals around the world.
The film is set in 1898. Elizabeth Hannah Martin, known as Beth, a determined young woman who escapes from the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum and desperately tries to return home.
When she hears she has been earmarked for a new and dangerous ‘therapy’, she plots her escape and, once free, travels through Yorkshire, longing for home, with only a photograph to guide her. She meets a strange young boy who helps her press on with a journey that forces her to face haunting memories and stark truths. When the family she meets isn’t the one she had hoped for, will Beth end up forever trapped in the Victorian asylum system?
Ava says the film, based on true events, “is an epic and visually striking tale of history and mental illness that will lure the viewer into an experience of sadness, wonder and eternal hope.”
“Asylums in the Victorian era were dumping grounds for the poor and the mentally unstable. Although the West Riding Asylum was at the forefront of patient care (the first to introduce lithium), patients were known to escape into the surrounding countryside.”
Elizabeth Hannah Martin was a 16-year old girl incarcerated in what was then the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Menston, which opened in October, 1888.
The hospital, which later became High Royds, was largely self-sufficient and had its own library, surgery, dairy, bakery, butchers and railway. Its large estate was used for agriculture and market gardening and patients, if they were able, worked on the farm or in the kitchens or laundry.
After services were transferred to St James’ Hospital and the Mount psychiatric hospital in Leeds, High Royds closed in 2003. The old hospital buildings were used for several films and TV dramas including Asylum,No Angels, Bodies and Heartbeat.
The Kaiser Chiefs song Highroyds is inspired by the hospital. Three of the band members went nearby St Mary’s School in Menston.
Ava’s film, Beth, was shot in Ripon and Leeds over the summer with a cast and crew of 15. During lockdown Ava made her debut micro short film, Players, which has won awards at international online film festivals.
Aged 11, she worked with Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes, appearing in his West End smash hit, The Ferryman.
Ava says her writing and directing is inspired by period settings in her native Yorkshire.
“Yorkshire is a film-maker’s dream, with everything, from dark mills to perfect period houses, seaside to rolling hills,” says Ava. “Plus there is a lot of talent here.”
We are pleased to report that we had a successful ‘Open Day’ for Heritage Day. We had 28 visitors according to our ‘track & trace’ records and they kindly donated £74 to our funds. The visitors were spread over the course of the day and kept their social distancing. Many thanks to Tom and Ron who were able to answer a lot of detailed questions. One question we couldn’t remember the answer to was ‘who made the wooden cross that hangs above the Altar?
NB The wooden Celtic Cross above the altar was funded by Churches Together in Otley (of which Ron was then Chairman). It was made by Bret Thompson, Cabinet Maker, of Ilkley who was also responsible for making the 30ft Easter Cross that is erected on the Chevin every year. Bret did get the wood for the Chapel Cross from the hospital. It was selected from one of the doors leading to a doctors room.
This choice was made to ensure continuity with the old hospital.
It is hoped that, subject to COVID-19 regulations allowing, The Memorial Garden/Chapel will be open for the National Heritage Day on Sunday September 20th commencing at 10-00a.m. The day will conclude with a Special Remembrance and Thanksgiving Service commencing at 4-30pm led by the Revd. Andrew Howorth. Further details will be posted nearer the time.
Chairman’s Report – May 2020
In accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority’s regulations we would normally have held a public AGM in April. However due to COVID-19 we were unable to do this so we are writing to all our many friends and supporters instead. This year, plans had been made to join with the charity “Caring for God’s Acre”, various experts and other organisations to raise the profile and celebrate the unique heritage within these special sites in a campaign called : The Year of the Beautiful Grounds! Funding events had been planned but have had to be postponed. Likewise National Conferences were to be held to look at the ways as to how these burial sites can create a haven for wild-life to further enhance the environment. Hopefully these activities will be resumed as soon as possible. This year also coincides with the 10th anniversary of when the local community became the owners (through the Trustees) of the then derelict chapel and neglected High Royds Psychiatric Hospital graveyard on Buckle Lane, Menston .During these10 years, with the help of the community and various grants, the Chapel has been restored with a permanent record of the 2861 former patients, who are buried in the graveyard, kept there. The graveyard itself has been converted into a Memorial Garden which has featured on national TV, won several awards and is officially recognised as part of Historic England. A recent development (in 2019) saw a Sensory Garden constructed for those who are sight-impaired or have Dementia problems. This Sensory Garden is now starting to bloom and gives an added touch of colour to the Garden.
SO FAR – SO GOOD – BUT!! In addition to the chapel/graveyard we are also responsible for 1.5 acres of the surrounding woodland and the site of the former railway line which was used to connect High Royds Hospital with Leeds. In an area which is increasingly being developed this area of natural beauty is important and is already home to a variety of wildlife. In 2020, as part of the national campaign, we were looking to develop this further to help with the wild-life and environment. Local schools have already helped to install Bat boxes in the wood and a Hedgehog sanctuary has recently been established. Now, in view of the serious decline of bees, a request was received regarding the possibility of one or two bee-hives also being installed. Whilst the plans for developing the Woodland Nature Reserve have had to put on hold for the time being the Garden, despite the lockdown, has remained open and is available for anyone who wishes to spend a peaceful few minutes there. On behalf of the Trustees/Management Committee our thanks for all the past help in helping to remember the former patients and also in keeping our environment as green and pleasant as possible.
Dr. Ron Sweeney Chairman, Friends of High Royds Memorial Garden
NB. During the lockdown the grounds have been kept in good shape thanks to Edward Newbould Rance
HIGH Royds Memorial Garden in Menston will be joining with the charity Caring for God’s Acre, various experts and other organisations to raise the profile and celebrate the unique heritage within these special sites.
National Conferences will be held to look at the ways as to how these burial sites can create a haven for wild-life to further enhance the environment.
This year coincides with the 10th anniversary of when the local community, here in Wharfedale, became the owners (through the trustees) of the then derelict chapel and neglected High Royds Psychiatric Hospital graveyard on Buckle Lane, Menston.
During the past ten years, with the help of the community and various grants, the Chapel has been restored with a permanent record of the 2861 former patients, who are buried in the graveyard, kept there.
The graveyard itself has been converted into a Memorial Garden which has featured on national TV, won several awards and is officially recognised as part of Historic England.
A recent development (in 2019) saw a Sensory Garden constructed for those who are sight-impaired or have dementia problems. All the pathways now conform to national wheelchair access standards so the garden/chapel is accessible to all.
In addition to the chapel/graveyard the trustees are also responsible for 1.5 acres of the surrounding woodland and the site of the former railway line which was used to connect High Royds Hospital with Leeds.
In an area which is increasingly being developed this area of natural beauty is important and is already home to a variety of wildlife. In 2020, as part of the national campaign, the trustees are looking to develop this further to help with the wild-life and environment.
Local schools have already helped to install bat boxes in the wood and a hedgehog sanctuary has recently been established.
Now, in view of the serious decline of bees, a request has also been received regarding the possibility of one or two bee-hives also being installed. Trustee Ron Sweeney said: “If the person who contacted me regarding the possibility of a bee-sanctuary would care to contact me again we would happy to discuss the possibilities further.
“On behalf of the Trustees/Management Committee our thanks for all the past help in helping to remember the former patients and also in keeping our environment as green and pleasant as possible.
The 14th and 15th of September was our National Heritage Weekend
Above the Horsforth Book Club added a visit the the garden to extend their Saturday ramble.
AN interesting and thought provoking photograph was taken at a special service held in High Royds Memorial Chapel, Menston, at the close of the National Heritage Weekend.
The Rev Andrew Howorth led a service which focussed on how to learn from the past whilst looking to the future. In the background is a photograph of John Constantine, a former inmate, from the age of ten, of the Ripon Union Workhouse and the North Yorkshire Asylum. John who was classified as “deaf and dumb” was transferred to High Royds in 1899 (then called The West Riding West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum). He died in 1928 after fifty-five years in the institutions and is buried together with 2860 other paupers in the now restored High Royds Memorial Garden.
A spokesman for High Royds said: “The juxtaposition, which was not planned, is an example of how by looking at the past, and learning from it, we can help to build a society for the benefit of all. It was a well-attended, forward looking service and the Management Committee thanks all the many people who contributed to a thoughtful and beneficial weekend.
The weekend of the 14th and 15th of September is the next Heritage Open Day at the Memorial Garden look out for a request for Volunteers to help with a couple of hours weeding and tidying up the garden coming soon
Fifteen people volunteered to turned up to help plant the Sensory Garden and do other necessary weeding at High Royds Memorial Garden last Saturday.
Friends Chairman Ron Sweeney said: “ It was great to see such a turnout.
The weeding and planting was completed before the afternoon rain.
“It is through volunteers that what was once a derelict and neglected three acres of land has become “An Oasis of Peace” with local and national recognition.”
With all the stonework for the specially commissioned High Royds Sensory Garden, on Buckle Lane, Menston now complete tons of soil/compost has been delivered and put into position.
Much thought has gone into selecting plants suitable for people who are sight impaired or who may have Dementia problems. These will be delivered for planting on Saturday 15th June between 10-00 and 12 noon.
At the same time we will carry out the necessary weeding in other parts to ensure the Memorial Garden is at its best for an Open Day which is planned for Saturday 6th July
In order to facilitate this work, a Weeding and Planting Party will be held between 10-00 and 12 noon on Saturday 15th June.
Volunteers are invited to join in this working group in order to further enhance this three acre site which has become known, both locally and nationally, as an “Oasis of Peace”.
Friends of High Royds Memorial Garden