|Hello, my name is Ruby and I work for My Life My Choice which is a self-advocacy charity for people with learning disabilities in Oxfordshire. I have been there since 2017. I am a Travel Buddy trainer, a Power Up trainer and I am also part of the Young People’s group.|
|This is a blog about a research project I was involved in, called the Revolutionaries of Littlemore Hospital.
Littlemore Hospital was an institution located in Littlemore, Oxford.
|It was first opened in 1846 as the ‘Oxford County Pauper Lunatic Asylum.’
The patients who went there were believed to be ‘lunatics,’ at the time this meant criminals or people who had learning disabilities.
|It was turned into a Military hospital during the First World War.
In 1922, it reopened as ‘Littlemore Hospital’.
|It wasn’t a nice place to live.
People were abused and worked for little or no money.
|Electroconvulsive Therapy (E.C.T) was used with no pain relief nor without the patients’ permission.|
|There were very few good things about living there. We think food and Christmas may have been one of the only good things.|
|Life at the hospital was so bad that the patients resisted.
Some wrote poetry and songs about their experiences.
|Some tried to live a normal life by getting a job. Some patients were firefighters!|
|Some patients from other hospitals played pranks on hospital staff.|
|Some patients from other hospitals even tried to escape.|
|These patients were lucky because some of the patients who stayed would live there for the rest of their lives.|
|Sadly, some of the patients died at the hospital.
There isn’t much left to remember the patients or their experiences.
|This is why we, My Life My Choice Young People’s Group, have written stories and recipes based on what we learned: to remember the patients and their experiences.|
|It inspired me to write an escape story. This is my story.|
|My character in the story was called Rosemary Dawson.|
|The story was set in December 1963.|
|Rosemary wanted to escape from the hospital because she wanted to see her family again after 7 long years.|
|She kicked a football far away and used this as a distraction to try and escape.|
|Rosemary kicked the ball hard and ran out of the gate.|
|She asked a man called Martin for help at The Littlemore Train Station.|
|Martin surprisingly knew her brother, William from the pub he worked at called The Grapes.|
|He brought Rosemary back to her brother, who then took her home to have Christmas dinner.
|Rosemary was glad that she escaped when she did. She was free in one of the best decades, the Swinging 60s.|
|Other young people from My Life My Choice also wrote their own stories. You can find them here.|
|I also wrote some recipes: ‘bread and cheese’ style cake and baked bread pudding.|
|I have enjoyed doing this project.
It has made be happy because I have found creating these stories and recipes fun.
|I have also enjoyed it as I have learnt new things about Oxford and the lives of older people with learning disabilities.
I think it is important to know about the past so we can stop these bad things from happening again.
|Thank you for reading!|