13th November



Board of Management Minutes: May 1917 – Dec 1925 NHNN/A/4/8

It was resolved that Christmas festivities at the Hospital be arranged on as modest a scale as possible, that patients’ friends not be invited to remain for tea on Christmas day, and that no decorations be allowed in the Hospital.


NHNN/PC/6/1 Press cuttings: Apr 1937 - May 1939

From the Evening Chronicle & Evening World

The modern world, in the eyes of a psychiatrist, is more like a madhouse than anything else.

Dr S H Kraines, attached to the National Hospital for Diseases of the Nervous System, London, is the Psychiatrist in this instance. He has written an article “A Psychiatric Analysis of the Present-Day Madness in the World,” which is published in “Science,” organ of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In his opinion, the “only really normal countries in the world today are Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Switzerland.” Here is what he says about some of the others:

France: An elderly, fearful spinster, gingerly treading her way, holding her skirts high, suffering from an excessive emotionalism and apprehensiveness… of basically good character but unstable… brilliant but unreliable.

Italy: A feeble-minded person who has seen others grow great and feels that he too can become a great person… with much blowing of the horn, beatings of the chest, large statements of the greatness of the individual.

Germany: Going through a depressive phase with marked paranoid symptoms, feeling that others are to blame for her own inadequacy, and accusing others with the typical rationalisation used by paranoids, but extremely capable and full of energy.

Japan: A small, dynamic, psychopathic personality, with marked temper outbursts and ideas of grandeur.

Russia: A strong young man who has just passed through the throes of puberty but is far from leaving the impractical idealism of youth.

China: A middle-aged, bald-headed man… essentially lazy; calm and philosophical, wishes to be let alone.

Dr Kraines is not too hard on Britain, his description being: “a solid, settled business man… conservative, somewhat apprehensive… too set in his ways.”

The worst case is the United States, which is a “typical maniac-depressive; in its maniac phase happy, elated, very active, dreaming great dreams, doing many things beyond its capacity, and speaking loudly of the success it is achieving. “

In the depressive phase (after the 1929 crash) characterised by “marked retardation, marked ebbing of energy, many complaints, inability to think through clearly, insomnia bad dreams, fears, a poor appetite, and a decline in the birth-rate.”

On This Day is a diary of day to day life in the Hospital covering 1859 to the 1940’s.

Extracts are taken from the staff records, letters, the reports of the Matron and the Lady Superintendent, and the minutes of the Board of Management and the Medical Committee. They were compiled with the help of Janet Townsend, Frankie Alves, Louise Shepherd, Michael Clark and Liz Yamada

The item of the month also contains items highlighted by archive staff.