A stranger has come
To share my room in the house not right in the head,
A girl mad as birds - Dylan Thomas, `Love in the Asylum'
With the advent of `care in the community' for the mentally afflicted, the self-contained villages for the apparently insane have now been consigned to the history books. These once bustling Victorian institutions were commonly known in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the `county asylum' or the `pauper lunatic asylum', and were an accepted and essential part of society for nearly two centuries. It is difficult to believe that, in 1914, there were 102 such asylums, accommodating over 100,000 patients, the majority of whom lived their entire lives under care and treatment. In 2014, with the exception of those that have already been demolished, these buildings now lie empty and derelict, or have been converted for contemporary living. Through this photographic book, we journey into the inner sanctum of a world of lost dreams, where hope was more often than not unwillingly traded for an uncomfortable acceptance.
Mark is a keen social historian and has photographed Bradford from the core out for several years, recording the changing history of this great northern city. He is the owner of the Meanwood Park archive. Mark lives in Haworth, Bradford the home of the Bronte sisters.