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Mental nurses and their patients, 1935–74
Author: Tommy Dickinson

Anecdotal evidence of the testimonies of patients who received treatments for sexual deviations and medical attitudes towards them are scattered in the recorded accounts of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, intersex and queer/questioning (GLBTIQ) people. This book examines the plight of men who were institutionalised in British mental hospitals to receive 'treatment' for homosexuality and transvestism, and the perceptions and actions of the men and women who nursed them. It explores why the majority of the nurses followed orders in administering the treatment - in spite of the zero success-rate in 'straightening out' queer men - but also why a small number surreptitiously defied their superiors by engaging in fascinating subversive behaviours. The book is specifically about the treatments developed for sexual deviations in the UK. Transvestism was also treated fairly widely; however, not to the same extent as homosexuality. After an examination of the oppression and suppression of the sexual deviant, the introduction of aversion therapies for sexual deviance is considered. During the 1930s-1950s, mental health care witnessed a spirit of 'therapeutic optimism' as new somatic treatments and therapies were introduced in mental hospitals. The book also examines the impact these had on the role of mental nurses and explores how such treatments may have essentially normalised nurses to implement painful and distressing 'therapeutic' interventions . The book interprets the testimonies of these 'subversive nurses'. Finally, it explores the inception of 'nurse therapists' and discusses their role in administering aversion therapy.

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Katherine Fennelly

community care would mean a reduction of the extent of institutional provision for the mentally ill, from large mental hospitals into purpose-built wards in general hospitals. Powell’s words heralded a period of transformation and change in the management of mental health in Britain. Mental hospitals began to close their doors in the final decades of the twentieth century, leaving many former Georgian and Victorian asylum buildings empty, open for redevelopment, and in a few cases allowed to slump into dilapidation. In Ireland, mental hospitals

in An archaeology of lunacy
Will Jackson

. 20 KNA: BY / 52 / 7, Donald Savage; KNA: MOH / 3 / 316, Care of Backward Children. 21 The above calculations are based on estimates of the total European population in 1944. See Appendix II . Admission rates for British mental hospitals are taken from: F. N. Garrett and C. R. Lowe, ‘Sex Pattern

in Madness and marginality