An introduction from the South West Division Chair

The South West Division Chair, Professor Rohit Shankar has recorded a message to introduce our tribute to the past 180 years of the College in the south west of England.

Hello, I'm Professor Rohit Shankar, the current Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists South West Division.

It falls on me the great privilege of giving the introduction to the south west collection, celebrating the twin achievements of the founding of the Association of Medical Officers of Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane in 1841 and the founding of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1971.

This collection will look to highlight what some of our past and present colleagues have achieved. Starting with the life of Samuel Hitch and his achievements in the south west, we move on to the creation of the South West Division, including minutes of the first 1841 meeting of the Medical Psychological Association. We then take you on a journey to visit south west museums, Wotton Lawn and Glenside Hospitals, giving us a view to the past.

‘Psychiatry through the Arts’ looks at the drawings of Denis Reed, courtesy of Glenside Hospital Museum, and poems and music of Ivor Gurney, courtesy of the Ivor Gurney Trust. A real page from history. Dr Angela Rouncefield talks to Dr Peter Carpenter about her experience and journey of a life in psychiatry in the south west. Finally, we end with the now and then and look at the current status of the south west asylums in a ‘where are they now?’ feature.

It would be folly of me to go away without thanking the protagonists of this work. The working group as a whole. Dr Ross Runciman, Dr Angela Rouncefield, Dr Andy Moore and Dr Jeremy Sandbrook, with particular thanks going to Dr Peter Carpenter, the curator of the project, for his tireless work. Also, thanks to Tania Leigh and Abby Watts for bringing us the snapshot of the past. Finally, I congratulate all my colleagues for the difference you make and remind us we should be proud to celebrate 180 years of a profession that has improved the lives of many - not only in the south west, but nationally and internationally.

Do keep safe and well and enjoy the collection. Thank you.

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