Commemorating Dr Conolly

Last month English Heritage unveiled a blue plaque at the West London NHS Trust St Bernard’s Hospital site – the old Hanwell asylum – to commemorate the life and work of Dr John Conolly.

Dr Conolly abolished mechanical constraint in psychiatric wards in 1839, a great step forward towards more humane care for people with severe mental illness.

Exactly 228 years after he was born, on 27 May 2022, a ceremony took place with several speakers, in the garden of rest within the walls of the old asylum.

Local MP, Virendra Sharma, members of the College’s History of Psychiatry Special Interest Group, Dr Amrit Sachar, Dr Derek Tracy the Medical Director of West London NHS Trust, and the Trust’s chair Tom Hayhoe.

Dr Conolly was also known for caring for his patients on an individual level, as he regularly looked after their food intake and personal hygiene, as well providing them with a variety of leisure activities to participate in.

The College’s Historian in Residence, Dr Claire Hilton, has written a great blog post on the unveiling of the plaque, which includes what she said, as one of the speakers:

Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry