About us

IMG_0582Our small team are working hard to evolve and regenerate the museum’s fantastic mental health collection into an accessible and engaging life-long learning resource.

This process is on-going and over the next 18 months from the opening of the museum, the team will work alongside service users, carers, staff and the public to continue to towards a co-developed, co-designed and co-produced museum service – you will help shape: who we are, what we do and how we do it.

Alongside the display development, the museum will safeguarded the collection using newly developed policies and procedures that will ensure the powerful and important collection can be explored and discussed by future generations.

Please explore the information on our website about the history and developments of the museum, our mission and purpose, our team and where you can access archival patient records.

The Museum history

The Mental Health Museum is governed by the South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The museum sits at the heart of Fieldhead Hospital. The hospital provides a number of services including; therapy and psychology services, forensic services and learning disability assessment and treatment services to name but a few.

The museum used to be known as the Stephen G Beaumont Museum and focused specifically on the history and architecture of the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum: Wakefield, which was to be later known as Stanley Royd Hospital.

P1030011The museum was originally opened in 1974 at the Stanley Royd Hospital site and was developed by Mr Lawrence Ashworth. Mr Ashworth was the Secretary to Stanley Royd Hospital from 1961 to 1973, and during this time Mr Ashworth took a keen interest in recording and researching the evolutionary history of the Wakefield Asylum into the hospital he knew so very well. Mr Ashworth’s account of the hospital’s history can be found in his book Stanley Royd Hospital Wakefield: One Hundred and Fifty years A History.

After Mr Ashworth’s retirement in 1973, he officially became the museum’s curator in 1979. The original museum was named after Mr Stephen G Beaumont who was appointed Chairman of the Wakefield ‘B’ Group in 1957 and remained in this position until 1964. Mr Beaumont and the committee agreed to fund the museum and its development.

The Stephen G Beaumont Museum remained on the Stanley Royd Hospital site until 1995 when the hospital was decommissioned, and moved to its current location on the Fieldhead Hospital site.

Since the museum’s opening in 1974, the museum has been in the care of Mr Lawrence Ashworth, Mr J Markwell and Mr Michael McCarthy. The museum was much loved and represented years of devotion and commitment by its staff and volunteers. Some of the key additions introduced by these keepers include; a scale model of the original ‘H’ design Asylum building, the transcription of the Reverend T.B. Clarkson’s Chaplain’s journal and the re-discovered and adapted garden statue of the goddess Flora.

In 2011 the Trust’s Change Lab initiative identified that museum had great potential to do more than showcase the collection. The Change Lab working group, consisting of services users and carers and supported by Trust staff, identified that the Museum could be used to break down barriers, reduce stigma and discrimination in our society.

It was recognised that with creativity, professional museum support and the on-going collaboration with service users, carers, staff and the community, the museum would develop into the Mental Health Museum.

For more information about the museum’s mission, purpose, collection and what we aim to achieve please explore our website and contact the museum on 01924 328 654 or museum@swyt.nhs.uk