Film ID:
YFA 1215



Visitor Tabs


This is a film made under the direction of Dr J A R Bickford, the Physician Superintendent of De La Pole Hospital, Willerby, to show good practice in the care of long term psychiatric patients. Using illustrations from the work of the Hospital, the film advances a policy of rehabilitation of patients through activity, especially sport, and interacting with the wider society.  Dr J A R Bickford provides a commentary.

Title – Rehabilitation of the Long Stay Mental Patient
Made at De La Pole Hospital, Willerby, under the direction of Dr J A R Bickford, Physician Superintendent
Grateful thanks are due to the Hull ‘B’ group hospital management committee and to the nursing staff for their willing assistance.  Thanks are due also to the Joseph Rowntree Village Trust for their generous grant which enabled this film to be made.

The film begins with a ship being pulled into Hull docks by a tug.  A West Indian man in a trilby walks along a desolate street with posters up for Adam Faith and Rovers v Wakefield.  As he walks past, the narrator informs us that this is the catchment area for De La Pole Hospital.  Two small West Indian boys come out of a corner shop and run down the road.  The film shows several streets in Hull with housing, and then moves on to show a field with sheep covered in snow.   The narrator informs us that the Hospital lies a thirty minute bus ride from the centre of the city, and the bus can be seen as it travels along a Hull street.  Following this are exterior shots of the Hospital as a blue van arrives as well as a view over the buildings and grounds.  

Patients gather together in the grounds after breakfast.  After their time outside, the patients move onto their various occupational therapy sessions which take place indoors.  It is explained that the other half of the day is spent outdoors, either working or playing games.  Outside women do exercises which include skipping to the accompaniment of a record player.  A woman with schizophrenia plays at croquet.

Men shovel earth into wheelbarrows during which time the narrator provides an explanation of the progress they have made.  Then they play a hockey match against a school.  This is followed by men doing somersaults on a gym horse, and hurdling.  Women play netball as the narrator gives a rationale for these activities.  Tea and biscuits are then brought out, to act as an incentive.  Indoors, a group of man and women are rug making and then woodworking and decorating.  Another group sits around a record player while others are making things out of paper-mache or polishing.   

Those who find walking difficult are provided with wooden Zimmer frames.  There is a game of rugby between patients and an outside team which is followed by a game of lacrosse.  Other tasks undertaken include baking, painting, basketwork, pottery and metalwork.  The narrator states that nurses and staff provide a full and active programme for the patients, leading to an improvement in the quality of life – “half the day indoors and half the day outdoors, this is the order to always be followed”.  Other activities include cooking, ironing and cleaning. 

The film then shows an outing to the local public swimming baths, stressing the importance of interaction with society for the patients and staff, and with an emphasis on mixing the sexes.  They use the gym of a local school during the vacations, using the bars and ropes.  The narration gives an account of the role of the nurses as we see the patients doing exercises in the gym.    

The patients then board a coach to the seaside where they play on the beach and paddle in the sea in their swimming costumes.  The men then peel potatoes, play more games on the beach, and walk up steep steps up a cliff. 

Back at the Hospital male patients are all reading from a book, possibly a play, between the hours of 6 and 8 in the evening, before having a game of cards, followed by table tennis and dominoes.  Other activities include country dancing in the gym.  The nurses, dressed in their white coats, stand to the side and make sure the activities go as planned.  Then the men have a game of basketball, followed by shove ha'penny and darts.  A school teacher does a lesson with both the patients and nurses.

Then outdoors they make some wooden frames, feed pigs and chickens, and tend to vegetables.  One patient cleans out a rabbit hutch and brushes a rabbit.  Then a group of men patients, chronic schizophrenics, work picking potatoes on a farm for proper wages, after deductions.  The men work at first in large groups and then in small groups in a market garden.   Men are then working at Barchard’s Ltd timber yard.

The film then returns to show some of the scenes from the beginning, with the narrator explaining the benefits of the activities witnessed in the film, ending with the tug pulling the ship back out to sea.

Title – Photographed and Produced by N K Green
The End