The Mental Health Museum

Polly Checkland Harding
The Mental Health Museum
Image courtesy of The Mental Health Museum

The Mental Health Museum, Fieldhead Hospital
Ouchthorpe Lane, Wakefield, WF1 3SP – Visit Now

Only open Tuesday through Thursday and with pre-booking essential, the Mental Health Museum in Wakefield is a rather unusual venue. It houses a notable collection of mental health-related objects dating from the 19th century to the present day – but this is no shrine to the past. In the collection and on display are chains once used to restrain patients, early electroconvulsive therapy equipment and a padded cell. There’s also clothing worn by mental health professionals over the years, including the heavy skirts, corsets, thick stockings and keychains weighing nearly a kilogram worn by nurses in the 1800s. Rather than glorifying the objects in its collections, the museum is a site for debate; for the examination of mental health care both historically and today.

Wakefield’s Mental Health Museum was originally opened as the Stephen G Beaumont museum at the Stanley Royd Hospital in 1974, and was initially solely focussed on the history of the hospital itself, which first opened as the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in 1818. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the institution grew to be the largest mental health care provider in West Yorkshire. The Stanley Royd hospital was decommissioned in 1995, occasioning the museum’s move to its current location at the Fieldhead Hospital.

A half-hour walk or eight-minute bus journey from Wakefield city centre, the museum’s new goal is to collaborate with the community ‘to create opportunities for people to challenge their beliefs and perspectives.’ In 2017, the organisation was chosen as one of 15 museums taking part in the Happy Museums scheme, where the emphasis is on maximising the role museums can have on community wellbeing. Wakefield’s Mental Health Museum is, then, a special combination: a unique visitor experience, an effort to combat social inequality, prejudice and stigma, and an ambition to become the leading resource for the history of mental health care in the UK.

  • Fieldhead Hospital
    Ouchthorpe Lane
  • Wakefield
  • WF1 3SP
  • View map

Opening Hours

  • Mon: Closed
  • Tue: Closed
  • Wed: 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Thu: 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Fri: 10:00am – 4:00pm
  • Sat: Closed
  • Sun: Closed
  • Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit

Admission Charges

Free entry

Accessibility

Wheelchair and ambulant access

Things to do at The Mental Health Museum

Powered by culturehosts

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
The Gruffalo at The lowry
Families Until 21 August 2022, from £10.00

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park
Families Until 28 August 2022, from £15.00

The Jungle Book at Williamson Park

Open Air Theatre in Manchester and the North
Childrens Until 29 August 2022, from £28.00

Stig of the Dump at Grosvenor Open Air Theatre

Activity Until 30 August 2022, Quarry Bank admission prices apply (free for National Trust members) £1.50 for trail

The Lost Words at Quarry Bank

Festivals Until 31 August 2022, from £9.95

Flying Fighters of Taiwan at HOME

Great Northern Sandpit
Families Until 31 August 2022, FREE

The Great Northern Sandpit

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £0.00

Tours in Chester