The Last Asylum

Episodes

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0120140217

At its founding in 1851, Colney Hatch was the largest asylum in Europe.

The Last Asylum begins with Barbara Taylor's visit to the innocuously named Princess Park Manor in Friern Barnet, North London - a place of luxury flats and careful landscaping. But this is the former site of one of England's most infamous lunatic asylums, the Middlesex County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch. At its peak, this asylum housed nearly 3,000 patients - including, in the late 1980s, Barbara Taylor herself.

Writing about The Last Asylum, Booker prize winner and memoirist, Hilary Mantel said, ''We believe our response to mental illness is more enlightened, kinder and effective than that of the Victorians who built the asylums. Can we be sure? Barbara Taylor challenges complacency, exposes shallow thinking, and points out the flaws and dangers of treatment on the cheap. It is a wise, considered and timely book'

Darian Leader has described it as 'Superb, Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest'.

Episode 1:

At its founding in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, Colney Hatch was the largest asylum in Europe. When Barbara Taylor revisited it years after her own stay there, it had been converted into luxury flats.

Reader: Maggie Steed

Abridged and produced by: Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0220140218

Barbara Taylor recalls London's left-wing intelligentsia's infatuation with psychoanalysis

The Last Asylum begins with Barbara Taylor's visit to the innocuously named Princess Park Manor in Friern Barnet, North London - a place of luxury flats and careful landscaping. But this is the former site of one of England's most infamous lunatic asylums, the Middlesex County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch. At its peak, this asylum housed nearly 3,000 patients - including, in the late 1980s, Barbara Taylor herself.

Writing about The Last Asylum, Booker prize winner and memoirist, Hilary Mantel said, ''We believe our response to mental illness is more enlightened, kinder and effective than that of the Victorians who built the asylums. Can we be sure? Barbara Taylor challenges complacency, exposes shallow thinking, and points out the flaws and dangers of treatment on the cheap. It is a wise, considered and timely book'.

Darian Leader has described it as 'Superb, Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest'.

Episode 2:

Taylor recalls how, in the 1980s, the left-wing intelligentsia of London was infatuated with psychoanalysis. Listening to people 'swap couch gossip', she 'yearned to join in' - but was not prepared for the pain and despair which gained her entry into this world.

Reader: Maggie Steed

Producer: Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0320140219

At severe risk of suicide, the author is admitted to Friern Hospital, 'Colney Hatch'.

The Last Asylum begins with Barbara Taylor's visit to the innocuously named Princess Park Manor in Friern Barnet, North London - a place of luxury flats and careful landscaping. But this is the former site of one of England's most infamous lunatic asylums, the Middlesex County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch. At its peak, this asylum housed nearly 3,000 patients - including, in the late 1980s, Barbara Taylor herself.

Writing about The Last Asylum, Booker prize winner and memoirist, Hilary Mantel said, ''We believe our response to mental illness is more enlightened, kinder and effective than that of the Victorians who built the asylums. Can we be sure? Barbara Taylor challenges complacency, exposes shallow thinking, and points out the flaws and dangers of treatment on the cheap. It is a wise, considered and timely book'.

Darian Leader has described it as 'Superb, Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest'.

Episode 3:

At severe risk of suicide and with her nightmares invading her waking world, the author was finally admitted to Friern Hospital, 'Colney Hatch'. Her analyst continues to challenge and support, her friends still visit, fellow patients are an unexpected source of warmth and humour.

Reader: Maggie Steed

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

0420140220

The Last Asylum begins with Barbara Taylor's visit to the innocuously named Princess Park Manor in Friern Barnet, North London - a place of luxury flats and careful landscaping. But this is the former site of one of England's most infamous lunatic asylums, the Middlesex County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch. At its peak, this asylum housed nearly 3,000 patients - including, in the late 1980s, Barbara Taylor herself.

Writing about The Last Asylum, Booker prize winner and memoirist, Hilary Mantel said, ''We believe our response to mental illness is more enlightened, kinder and effective than that of the Victorians who built the asylums. Can we be sure? Barbara Taylor challenges complacency, exposes shallow thinking, and points out the flaws and dangers of treatment on the cheap. It is a wise, considered and timely book'.

Darian Leader has described it as 'Superb, Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest'.

Episode 4:

The history of mental health hospitals is fraught with failures and good intentions. When it was decided to close down the old asylums, the care in the community revolution was already well underway. Barbara finds herself in a hostel.

Reader: Maggie Steed

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Barbara finds herself in a hostel, as it was decided the old asylums should be closed down

05 LAST20140221

The author wonders if today's mental health system offers the same space for recovery.

The Last Asylum begins with Barbara Taylor's visit to the innocuously named Princess Park Manor in Friern Barnet, North London - a place of luxury flats and careful landscaping. But this is the former site of one of England's most infamous lunatic asylums, the Middlesex County Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch. At its peak, this asylum housed nearly 3,000 patients - including, in the late 1980s, Barbara Taylor herself.

Writing about The Last Asylum, Booker prize winner and memoirist, Hilary Mantel said, ''We believe our response to mental illness is more enlightened, kinder and effective than that of the Victorians who built the asylums. Can we be sure? Barbara Taylor challenges complacency, exposes shallow thinking, and points out the flaws and dangers of treatment on the cheap. It is a wise, considered and timely book'.

Darian Leader has described it as 'Superb, Riveting, insightful and relentlessly honest'.

Episode 5:

Gradually perspective returns, 'something inside me shifts'. The author recalls the return of hope but she also wonders if today's mental health system would offer the same space for recovery that she was able to find.

Reader: Maggie Steed

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Jill Waters production for BBC Radio 4.