Hollymoor, Barnsley Hall, Rubery... all names of places that used to fill me with fear when I was a child growing up in the late fifties and sixties. They are names of local mental hospitals which housed all sorts of unspeakable in the green-ness around Birmingham, where people were farmed out to in order to get them away from the unhealthiness of the mental hospital in Winson Green. I hate to think of that time. Hollyhall was the closest to us - opened at the start of the twentieth century into Victorian England. It became a war hospital during the first world war, and again in the second world war. It remained open as a mental hospital until the 1990s. Some of it still exists in the form of architecturally very interesting buildings. This is the Water Tower, built beautifully to give enough head of water for the inmates and staff. There are other buildings still in use in various guises and I hope to be able to get into the old chapel for a look one day. It is surrounded by modern housing developments (Bedlam Wood Road!) and wasteland where some of the land was acquired in the 70s for Austin Rover to build the production line for the Metro car... What a history is there. What a story those bricks must be able to tell of segregation and suffering...
I'm still trying with the poetry:
Mania and Maniacs
"I'm barmy, aren't I?"
Going to the loony bin now...
Bedlam of noises in Bedlam Wood.
Oh so frightening, out of control,
Insane like a mind of a
whirling dervish the brain gone
fence locked padded chained cell
My God, My God, Why?