SELFS TALK: 11th May: Bedlam (Speaker Catharine Arnold)

We are very lucky to have the author Catharine Arnold speaking at SELFS this month on the subject of Bedlam.

‘Bedlam!’ The very name conjures up graphic images of naked patients chained among filthy straw, or parading untended wards deluded that they are Napoleon or Jesus Christ. We owe this image of madness to William Hogarth, who, in plate eight of his 1735 Rake’s Progress series, depicts the anti-hero in Bedlam, the latest addition to a freak show providing entertainment for Londoners between trips to the Tower Zoo, puppet shows and public executions.

That this is still the most powerful image of Bedlam, over two centuries later, says much about our attitude to mental illness, although the Bedlam of the popular imagination is long gone. The hospital was relocated to the suburbs of Kent in 1930, and Sydney Smirke’s impressive Victorian building in Southwark took on a new role as the Imperial War Museum.

To find out more come to the upstairs room of The Old King’s Head (47-49 Borough High Street, nearest tube London Bridge) for an educational talk from an authority on the subject. Catharine Arnold has written an excellent book on the subject which will be available for purchase on the evening.

Entrance is £3/1.50concs & you can pay on the door.
You can book in advance by emailing
or roll up on the night & take your chances

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