The large long-stay institutions of Brockhall, Calderstones and the Royal Albert were only a small part of a larger network of similar places across the United Kingdom. Imposing themselves on rural and urban landscapes, the majority of these institutions existed for most of the twentieth century. Each establishment has its own unique history. They are not all the same. However, the history of all these institutions was shaped by government legislation – especially by the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act. This was key to the development of large long-stay institutions for people with learning disabilities.
To understand more about the 1913 Act and its impact on the bigger picture of institutional history, please click on the PDF below.
The PDF is written by Jan Walmsley, who is Visiting Professor of the History of Learning Disability at the Open University. Jan was a co-founder of the Open University’s Social History of Learning Disability Research Group. (The written account is taken from her chapter in the book: Johnson K and Traustadottir R (eds) (2008) Deinstitutionalisation and people with intellectual disabilities: In and Out of Institutions London: Jessica Kingsley.)