Meanwood Park Hospital

Off-topic discussions, musings and chat
LS13
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Joined: Fri 23 Mar, 2007 1:31 pm

Postby LS13 » Thu 27 Sep, 2007 12:23 am

Growing up in Meanwood in the 70's, patients from Meanwood Hospital were a fact of life. This was before the days of 'Care in the Community' and patients with a wide range of mental disabilities were able to spend time out of the hospital and generally mingle with the population, then return to the hospital for meals and to sleep.

Obviously, this provided an interesting range of 'characters' who became friends or foes to us kids. A few that I remember-

Big Leonard - Lenny was a huge 'boy'. He was about 6 foot 3 and 17 stone when he was 15. He used to tag onto groups of kids which led him into a number of interesting situations! He was still the oldest teenager in meanwood about 15 years later. He'd aged but still liked to be one of the gang.

Hairpuller- He was a middle aged bloke who had a fixation with young lads with fair hair. He used to enjoy giving it a good tug..I know, he got me once! Nowadays, a kid would probably end up in counselling after a hairpuller attack but to us it was no big deal, just something to tell your mates about.

David- David was a gangly man, probably late teens but to us he seemed like a 'grown up'. His catch phrase was 'I like football' and he was a bit like the games teacher in Kes. He'd invade our pitch in meanwood park in a flared suit and smart shoes, take the ball off us and embark on a mazy keeganesque charge towards goal, then unleash an unstoppable shot which would break the imaginary goal net and leave the keeper with a 5 minute walk to retrieve the ball!

There were plenty more and I often wonder what became of them.

Also, in the 70's the hospital held an annual garden party and they used to usually get a pretty good 'turn'. I remember Dana appearing one year, The Grumbleweeds (Meanwood lads) played one year and Jimmy Saville often put in an appearence.

The hospital site is all houses now, but I'm sure people who grew up in the area before the 80's will have a lot of memories of the buildings and patients.
jo
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed 26 Sep, 2007 6:47 pm

Postby jo » Thu 27 Sep, 2007 12:44 am

I remember Meanwood Park Hospital well. I was Miss Britain in 1974
and opened the annual fair that year My Stepdad used to work there as a nurse and I was always a bit scared when I met the patients. Now I know that they were all probably just as scared of the outside world as we were of the inside world.
booboobedoo
carrotol
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Joined: Tue 26 Jun, 2007 4:44 pm

Postby carrotol » Fri 28 Sep, 2007 6:45 pm

There were an awful lot of patients who weren't allowed to go outside too. Kids and young people stuck in cots or on mats. I don't blame the staff in any way as that is how those places were run then, but it was a horrible place for some 'residents'. Not much in the way of stimulation for the mentally disabled, unlike nowadays. The reason I know this is that my sister was in there from about 67/68 and she was in a ward type place that was for patients who couldn't get about as well as being mentally handicapped. It smelt and when we went to see her she was usually just laid in a cot or pram.
Hector
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Joined: Thu 13 Sep, 2007 9:15 am

Postby Hector » Fri 28 Sep, 2007 7:55 pm

I did voluntary work there in about 1975/76 I remember being shown a padded cell. also it was routinre for some patients to be drugged up to keep them under control. Physical abuse of patients by staff was also taken for granted.

farbank
Posts: 128
Joined: Mon 25 Jun, 2007 12:37 pm

Postby farbank » Fri 28 Sep, 2007 8:42 pm

We used to have Meanwood Park hydrants on our bi-annual check,and clean charts. Each day a fireman would go off with a check card, of a district whose turn it was. We had a Lambretta scooter fitted with a box sidecar. In this were the tools for the job.Spare hydrant plates, spade, trowel, Standpipe key & bar etc.
One day, Hal W. had the task of doing those in the 'colony'. At the entrance he met a tidy young man . "Are you come to see the hydrants.?". "Yes", replied Hal. "Well I can show you where they all are," said the young man. So up he climbed on the seat behind Hal, and directed him around the complex. It was only after about 15mins., and the fourth time he was passing the offices, that a window opened. "Gerroff that F******** scooter, yer bug***" yelled a voice.
The lad leapt off and was gone in a flash. Hal, bewildered, was told he, the young man, stops all traffic deliveries etc. and 'proceeds' to show them the way.! Apparently he just loved riding around in anything with an engine in it.
raveydavey
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Postby raveydavey » Fri 05 Oct, 2007 10:37 pm

My grandparents worked there when I was a kid and lived in a house, something along the lines of a "tied cottage" just on the edge of the hospital grounds.

The house had orginally been the farm house - anyone who knows the layout of the old hospital will probably remember the farm - and was just behind where the Penny Hill School was built on Tongue Lane.

To me as a kid it seemed a massive house, and we'd go for great long walks through Meanwood Wood(?) or play in the fields alongside. Sometimes you'd bump into a patient out on a walk and they were never a problem.

The wards were housed in seperate buildings, called villas, dotted around the grounds and I can remember that every bonfire night they'd have a massive bonfire and firework display which was always well attended (can you imagine that today at a hospital for the mentally ill? Health and Safety would have a fit!).

It's all "executive" houses now - I often wonder where all the money the developers paid for the site went. The hospital was part of the NHS so that was our money - we effectively owned it. Same story with High Royds too.
Speaking the Truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act – George Orwell
Gray1971
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Joined: Fri 11 Jan, 2008 4:17 am

Postby Gray1971 » Fri 11 Jan, 2008 10:17 am

My parents also worked there for many years, and we lived in one of the "tied cottage" farmhouses for most of the 1970s.

It was an interesting place for a kid to grow up, with the run of the grounds to ride my bike round. I remember a large barn near our house with "mountains" of grit to climb on, and a mortuary at the end of the short path that led from the cottages to the hospital grounds. I was scared of the mortuary as a kid, but would often ride round it on my bike and try (unsuccessfully) to peer through the frosted glass windows and see what was going on onside (probably nothing, but...)

I was gutted when we moved out in the 1970s, but the cottages were really old and infested with mice towards the end of our stay. I think that someone else moved in after us, then the cottages stood empty for a few years and were eventually demolished in the mid 1990s or later.

I have read a lot of bad things about the history and regime at Meanwood Park Hospital, and some of them are probably true. What people tend to forget in the name of a good story is that many of the staff there were dedicated to the welfare of the patients, and would organise holidays and treats at their own initiative with no extra payment for doing so.

The closure of Meanwood Park hospital has been portrayed as a moral and political decision, but it was more to do with selling the land for profit to developers. Residents were placed into the "care" of the community in line with the policy of the time, but long term support was often inadequate. I think there was a least one case around that time of a knife attack on a member of a public by a former resident who was released into "sheltered" housing near Meanwood village.

I also heard (though cannot prove it) that some of the relatives of the residents would not be seen for 20 years, and then would turn up when the resident died and claim the benefit money that the resident had accumulated over that time...
Eve
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat 08 Nov, 2008 11:32 pm

Postby Eve » Sun 09 Nov, 2008 5:09 am

Im a staff nurse at LGI hospital and lived in one of the apartments for a year on Lawson Wood Drive, on the Woodleas built on the grounds of Meanwood Park Hospital.
My flat mate and I always used to wonder what the big old house in the centre of the development is??
It often has cars outside, lights on within but smashed windows that have been like that for years!

I also cared for a male patient about a year ago now who was a previous patient of Meanwood Park. He would tell some horrific stories of the 'care' in practice. This was after a good six months of us gaining his trust as he was that frightened of females in uniform.

As you say probably the norm for the era though.

Any ideas on the big stately home in the centre of the development??

silverstealth
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Joined: Tue 19 Feb, 2008 2:12 pm

Postby silverstealth » Sun 28 Dec, 2008 1:12 am

jo wrote:
I remember Meanwood Park Hospital well. I was Miss Britain in 1974
and opened the annual fair that year My Stepdad used to work there as a nurse and I was always a bit scared when I met the patients. Now I know that they were all probably just as scared of the outside world as we were of the inside world.


Would this be the very you..




From the yorkshire evening post 14/03/1975

I found it one of the nine scrap books that Dr D a Spencer put together between 1970 and 1990.
www.highroydshospital.co.uk
Crazy Jane
Posts: 331
Joined: Fri 08 Feb, 2008 11:01 am

Postby Crazy Jane » Thu 20 Aug, 2009 10:33 pm

My mother worked at Meanwood Park Hospital for a while cira late 70s going on 1980, not exactly sure what her actual job was but she may have been a cleaner.

She used to steal bedding from there that i got to sleep on, so all my sheets and pillowcases had MPH stamped on them in big red letters.

Apart from sleeping on the job, which she mentioned a few times, she used to say too about when she;d been going through cupboards in the kitchen and found catering tins of food that had been opened and put back, sometimes they were mouldy of literally crawling, the the kitchen staff would just scrape the [edited for content] off and use it anyway, or if it was too gross, stick it in the stew Angry
Evil and ambition scatter in the the darkness, leaving behind dubious rumors to fly in public. To the next world, I commit thee.

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