People often tried to abscond or escape from the long-stay institutions. Here ‘Frank’ talks about how he escaped from Brockhall Hospital in the late 1970s. He would have been around 20 years old at the time.
“I absconded from there.”
Because I went in 78. I absconded – myself. I absconded from there.
When you were twenty?
Tell me about that then.
Well the thing is – I went up to Main Office and this Finance Officer – well not officer, accountant. We were allowed to go to shop, monthly shopping. So I went up. I said to him, I want some money to get some new shirts. So he looked at me, and he said, he didn’t say much. Wrote it down. He asked me how much I wanted and that. And just give me so much what I need. And it all started after that. I went to the Market in Blackburn with day out. It was just a day out at week-end. And this lad said to me – he were in the market, I can remember, the old market – he said, Where are you? I said, Brockhall. He said, You shouldn’t be in there. Anyway that got me thinking. Next thing I got a bus, went down to Liverpool. Ditch all my clothes. There was a big space, field, dug a big hole put all clothes in, got my new clothes on. And it went from there. And I survived in Liverpool. I went there for about 3 months. Nobody knew any better really, in them days.
That sounds a really big thing to do.
Yeah it’s really guts to do that. They give you 28 days. If you’re not caught then then you (get) discharge papers.
And did you know of other people who had done that?
Not many people. Because some of them when they’re trying to escape they trying to climb outside the bedroom window, down the drainpipe! You know the old drainpipes, the black ones? They used to climb down there with sheets. But I did it a different way.