Work and practice of mental nurses, 1930–1959
in ‘Curing queers’
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This chapter explores the innovative therapies in a bid to gain an insight into the culture and practices within which the mental hospitals' nurses were working during the 1930s to the 1950s. It also explores the hitherto hidden history of gay life among male homosexual nurses within mental hospitals. It deconstructs the contentious dichotomy of these nurses administering treatments for patients 'suffering' from the same 'condition' as themselves. The Mental Treatment Act 1930 brought with it a therapeutic optimism, owing to the possibility of curative treatment for mental patients. The population of psychiatric hospitals rose so sharply during World War II that it became imperative to relieve the pressure on them. The pace of integration of mental health services into the National Health Service (NHS) was disrupted by the relative isolation of the Hospital Management Committee (HMC).

‘Curing queers’

Mental nurses and their patients, 1935–74

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