F2 KS3 Activity Mental Deficiency Meanwood Park

F2 KS3 Activity Mental Deficiency Meanwood Park
Ida Norman “ I was coming out of mill, Friday night, five o’clock we left, now I was excited cos I’d got my first wages you see. Then I was going down the hill through the tunnel and this man at the bottom , they called him Wormald… a lot of people.. He’s dead now. He said come on you’re going in my …I said look I’m not going in your car. I said you’ve been after me too much. He had a job to get me, but there was nobody you see”.
Geoffrey Kaye “ Going back home from school that’s how he got me. He had a car, Oh he said we’re going for a ride, where you taking me, your’ not taking me. He just didn’t say anything. He just took me to that place.”
The man they were talking about was Samuel Wormald, Mental Deficiency Officer, employed by Leeds City Council and he was taking them to Meanwood Park Colony for Mental Defectives. He was a man on a mission. ‘” By being allowed to repeat their type the feeble minded are increasing the ranks of the degenerate and wastrel classes with disastrous consequences to the entire country.”
In the i920s and 1930s Wormald rounded up more than 200 people in the Leeds area-school children, factory workers, mill girls all found themselves taken to Meanwood.
Following the 1913 Mental Deficiency Act where people classed as ‘idiot, imbeciles, feeble minded or moral defectives’ were rounded up, assessed and certified by two doctors and then kept in institutions. They were seen as a danger to society, mainly in term of having children and producing more ‘mentally defectives which would reduce the populations ability to work. Today we see these people as having the same human rights as everyone else and refer to them as disabled people with learning difficulties.
Meanwood Park was set on the outskirts of Leeds . Set in park and woodland it consisted of small houses around a central block with different classes of inmates cared for separately. All the work to run the establishment was carried out by the inmates. http://www.meanwoodpark.co.uk/
Watch slide show athttp://www.meanwoodpark.co.uk/insight/meanwood-park-hospital-1919-1996/
1. Describe the lay out and what Meanwood was like.
2. How did people often end up at Meanwood.
3. Write a letter home from Ida Norman soon after she was taken.
4. Describe how attitudes to people with learning difficulties have changed in the last 100 years
Sometimes people who had other impairments such as deafness or cerebral palsy who were disabled, but did not have a learning difficulty were also take in to the Colony. Watch the video clip
From the Channel Four Film Stolen Lives

5. Write about what happened to Geoffrey Abbot?
6. Why do you think such ‘mistakes’ were made?
Every County or large town set up mental deficiency hospitals and many people entered as children or young people and stayed the whole of their lives. They did not finally shut until 1990’s as many of the people who lived there just did not know how to look after themselves.

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