Sunday, 19 April 2015

Science, art and society in the early 20th century are related by Oto Bihalji-Merin (1938). 

The picture is Die Windsbraut by Oskar Kokoschka painted 1913- 1914

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Shelf Appeal  (1933) was a monthly publication "devoted to the planning, designing, manufacturing and display of the package."  It was associated with Package Omnibus "The first encyclopaedia of packaging" (1936)

We Women All Agree
Aviva Leeman's North Finchley shop front exhibition investigates the power of shopping from the 1930s to the 1950s. 

Students of marketing, sociology, gender, media, art and design, psychology, and shopaholics, will be fighting one another to get in.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Being able to talk about it:  Being able to do something about it - Being able to work together. 1946: Parents of "backward" children. - 1957: Hands and feet  - 1972: Cumfies for missing breasts - 1973: Mental Patients Union

Thursday, 9 April 2015

In two world wars, Britain and Germany struggled to starve each other's civilian populations. In Wales and England women formed Women's Institutes to produce food and goods and linked up with the land army of women replacing men in the fields. Jam making was part of the war effort.

In 1915 home and country meant food for the nation. 

In 1919 it meant home and countryside. 

In 2002 it meant saving the world.

Monday, 6 April 2015

As a madwoman in search of God Margery Kempe was a traveller who explored medieval Europe and the middle east.

An urban business wife and mother in a feudal agricultural society, her perception that she was married to God led to her being called both a harlot and a lollard. She was restrained in her own home, and sometimes in prison, at a time when institutional confinement of insane people was rare. Today she is an Anglican saint.

Friday, 3 April 2015

With clues from other researchers (thank you) I have found the primary sources for that 1620 "Petition of the Poor Distracted Folk of Bedlam"

This is two centuries after Margery Kempe and eighty years after Thomas Moore's frenzied heretic  and Juan Ciudad Duarte

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Kingsley Hall's hidden (painting) and non-existent memorials
Mary Barnes, artist, (Born 9.2.1923 - Died 29.6.2001), lived in this building from 6.6.1965 to May 1970

Thank you to everyone who helped and is helping to construct the unofficial catalogue of Mary Barnes in Bow
The exhibition closed on Sunday 29.3.2015 - but together we are preserving and developing its legacy.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

1562 Commotion when a needle is lost. This tool was precious. "Until far on in the sixteenth century, there was not a needle to be had but of foreign manufacture" (Stone 1840)
"A lytle thing with an hole in the end, as bright as any syller,
Small, longe, sharpe at the poynt, and straight as any pyller."
(Gammer Gurton's Needle)

"In all ages woman may lament the ungallant silence of the historian" 

The art of needle-work from the earliest ages : including some notices of the ancient historical tapestries by Mrs Elizabeth Stone, edited by Mary Margaret Stanley Egerton, Countess of Wilton. London: Henry Colburn 1840. ix and 405 pages. 1841 edition available at Project Gutenberg

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What became the Enfield (Ponders End) part of Middlesex University was originally an engineering college specialising in armaments and electricity. It differed from every other part in being almost exclusively male. After he first world war its school was divided into houses named after Isaac Newton, Christopher Wren and George and Robert Stephenson. After the second world war it dumped Wren, replacing him with Joseph Whitworth, and added a new house named after Michael Faraday. The first Principal (1941-1950) Henry Winterbottom Broadbent, was a Lancashire engineer and in the Stephensons and Whitworth the college looked north for its inspiration. More recently, the University has promoted women in engineering.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Myth means so many things. An architectural historian writes that the story that the Moorfields Bedlam was modelled on a French Palace is a myth, but an old one. She means it is untrue. But what is the Moorfields architecture if it is not a myth in the sense of a story packed with meaning? The meaning is elaborated in a poem after the symbol is built, but are we to believe that the rulers of the City of London, who paid for this expensive edifice, woke up one morning in horrified surprise that anyone should think there was meaning to mad people being displayed in a palace built in the French style?

The architecture of unreason was to be  counterbalanced to the architecture of reason being developed in the city cathedral of St Paul's. The mathematics for the dome of St Paul's was developed by the Moorfield's architect.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

One way to get a grip on the long history of Bedlam may be to compare it with the long history of hospitals for inocentes (mad people) in Spain, and then to track back from there to Islam's legacy to Spain.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

When Angela Sweeney began her research she was not looking for anything frightening. However, she used grounded theory to analyse the discussions in focus groups and found fear was a key issue.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Sometimes the exhibit itself becomes the story. The 1997 "Bedlam, Custody, Care and Cure 1247-1997" exhibition at the Museum of London presented these two pictures of a ward as depicted by Hogarth in 1735 and a ward depicted in 1867  Peter Beresford described the exhibition as being in "classic modernist terms of centuries of progress, culminating in modern psychiatry"  He thought it was insensitivee to "issues of difference and discrimination" and reduced the "experience of thousands of inmates ... to a handful of indecipherable photographs posed in hospital wards and grounds, and select biographies of the famous and curious few". Are the exhibits at the present Museum of the Mind a subtler presentation?

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Alain Touraine 1984
Kevin McDonald gave a lecture this evening at Middlesex University. From the synopsis, it appears he was outlining his argument that people seek meaningful action, and that that is a key to understanding what happens in society. A paper he has published online discusses Alain Touraine in this context. (See yesterday's blog). Reading this brought to my mind the essay Existential criminal by Ginny Goudy

Bethlem museum of the mind and art gallery opened today 

Survivors History Group have been asked to help evaluate it.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Sociology at MIddlesex University is reading Alain Touraine's After the Crisis, 2014. 
They say it offers an insightful sociological analysis of the meaning and impacts of the economic crisis of 2008 and concludes that our future requires not just new economic measures but the deepest possible rethinking of society itself. See also Sociology October 2014  and Saint Simon and Comte on crisis.
Mary Barnes in Bow - 
Report by Dina and Andrew

Monday, 16 February 2015

David Bakan published a book Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition in 1959, and Joseph Berke held a seminar yesterday (15.2.2015) in which he argued that  Hassidism, the Jewish mystical and  religious renewal movement based on the Kabbalah, entered mainstream western culture through psychoanalysis (Information from Steve Tilley in Edinburgh). Berke, an existential psychoanalyst,  is better known through his relationship with Mary Barnes, with whom he had discussions about the early Christianity of the desert fathers. The influence of world religions on modern thought is an enormous subject, but I am trying to outline some of it on the Social Science History timeline.  Try scrolling up and down from the desert father Anthony

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Recovery in the Bin have launched their eighteen point manifesto

They "reject thenew neoliberal intrusion on the word 'recovery' that has been redefined,and taken over by market forces, humiliating treatment techniques andatomising outcome measurements". 

Trying to understand this has led me to sort out my confusion over the words  conservative and liberal. These lead up to two kinds of new (neo) liberalism: the one shown in the picture, which offered support to people with disabilities, and the one we associate with Margaret Thatcher.

Friday, 13 February 2015

See unofficial catalogue about this picture
Yesterday, Dina and Andrew explored the Mary Barnes exhibition at the Nunnery Gallery in Bow. 

There are no labels on the paintings. We called this fire and water.

A form like a woman floats on the river (left)

"If I could have expressed what I was feeling so openly, I might have overcome a lot of issues".

"Because you put the feelings outside you, or because you shared them with other people?" 

"I think because I shared them." 

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Some pictures in a book about 1930s scientific research disturbed me. I sought the person behind the science and developed my entry on degradation. I see this as an aspect of the sociology of clothes

Monday, 9 February 2015

Mary Barnes wrote about the treasures of darkness (1971) and something sacred (1989).Her life has become an argument for the idea that mental distress (madness - mental illness) is a psychic journey. She described it as a journey to hell (darkness), but one with hidden secrets - the treasures of darkness. I am exploring her ideas on the studymore website and invite you to join me.