Explore 200 years of mental health history online with The Retreat Archive

*Posted on behalf of the Borthwick Institute for Archives at the University of York*

The Retreat hospital archive has been digitised with funding from the Wellcome Collection and is now available online.

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The Retreat Archive relates to one of the most important institutions in the care and treatment of mental health patients. The Retreat was founded by the Society of Friends and opened in 1796. The archive itself is unusually complete and includes administrative, financial, staff, estate and patient records and consists of bound volumes, loose papers, maps, photographs, artefacts from the museum and a small number of paintings.

Over 650,000 digital images have been captured by the project team – amounting to about 80% of the catalogued archive (note that material relating to patients dating from 1920 to the present day was excluded from the digitisation project).

There is a wealth of material in the archive that can be used for research. To get a flavour of some of the interesting things that staff have picked out whilst working on the project read some of our blog posts:

Or dive into The Retreat catalogue and follow the links that are available to the digital content hosted by the Wellcome Collection.

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