Author Topic: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr  (Read 8241 times)

Duffy

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St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« on: July 10, 2008, 06:12:17 PM »
I'm currently looking to make contact with anyone who has first-hand experience of the former St Margarets Idiot Colony in Great Barr, either ex-staff members or patients.

Predictable as ever, my interest in the site does involve a 'paranormal' related angle - so I just thought I might mention this prior to anyone possibly making contact with me over this matter.

As always, if you do not want to reply on the open forum, please PM or e-mail me on [email protected]

Thanks,

Nick
www.westmidlandsghostclub.com

Phil

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2008, 07:42:16 PM »
Nick


Sorry mate I have no knowledge of anyone who was a patient at this establishment. Although I know more than a few that would have qualified.

Phil
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Duffy

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2008, 06:54:41 AM »
May I just add a point to my appeal regarding the actual title of the site in  question.  Could I stress that this was the 'official', recognised  title of the site concerned for many years and I have certainly not used such a phrase in an endeavour to upset or appear to be being derogatory to anyone.......

Unfortunately, I have had to explain myself here because I have just been asked to leave another history related forum because of causing offence to it's users in being historically accurate.  Needless to say, I do not want to repeat any such crime here, etc.

Regards,

Nick
www.westmidlandsghostclub.com

Langstraat

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2008, 09:20:25 AM »
Nick,
Your original post is still there however the title has been altered. The name 'Idiot' can be seen by some as an emotive issue which is no longer used as the description here:
 "A person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive."
St. Margaret's has been covered on several sites although only in a general manner. The separate blocks were built to house some of societies most profoundly physically handicapped and disturbed inmates who were more a danger to themselves than society.
Never argue with an idiot, they'll drag you down to their level and try to beat you with experience.

Duffy

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2008, 03:00:54 PM »
Thanks Langstraat, the post was initially removed but has now been re-posted - though only after I had explained myself to admin.  Unfortunately, the reason for my post being edited is given as 'inappropriate reference to St Margarets Hospital and patients' which could be read as if I had 'purposefully' been indelicate with my terminology, instead of merely being 'precise'..... 

While such terminology is obviously unacceptable by todays standards, I could hardly see the fuss in stating a historically correct title on a history related forum?  Apparently the usage of the words 'Lunatic Asylum' seem quite acceptable, while remaining non politically correct by modern standards.....??
Ironically, I see that the reference ' loony-bin' has also jokingly been used on the forum concerned and wonder whether this elicited any negative response from the P.C. brigade - but there, I'm being as pathetic as the type of people who complain about..... etc, etc.

The real irony concerning this situation is that a significant portion of my ancestors - including recent generations especially - have passed the last years of their lives in places like St Margarets............ so I, perhaps more than most, should feel somewhat 'delicate' about such a subject!?

With regards to the site itself, I am currently working in conjunction with some ex-members of staff and, as mentioned above, would very much like to speak with anyone who has first hand experience of the Hospital.

regards,

Nick
www.westmidlandsghostclub.com

Langstraat

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2008, 09:36:53 PM »
Don't worry about the usage of the 'idiot' word, it's subjective and on another day may well have gone unchallenged; I even use it in my signature  ;)
There have been several posts regarding St. Margaret's on both sites but little in depth comment about the day to day working or recollections of the staff. As a lad the grounds were at the limit of my roaming area and one of those areas which held an attraction to explore. It was securely fenced to keep the inmates in or so we thought. I got in once but it was scary place with deep coppice's of rhodendrums streams and marshes on the lowland side. There is a deep lake, very dark and menacing.
Last spring I was able drive up the long driveway which they have started to build along. The lake is still there and although the area has been opened up and trees removed it's one of those places whose places where it's history and sorrow remain. Even though they've have changed the name it will  always be difficult to dispel the childhood rumours of hideously deformed creatures. I've seen arerial photos of the site which originally showed the various secure units hidden amongst the trees. Since the redevelopment of the site most of the buildings have been flattened but their memories linger on.
I hope you'll post your findings.
Never argue with an idiot, they'll drag you down to their level and try to beat you with experience.

mazbeth

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2008, 11:46:57 PM »
Don't worry about the usage of the 'idiot' word, it's subjective and on another day may well have gone unchallenged; I even use it in my signature 
however, it's not really 'subjective' as I am sure that your sig. does not refer to mentally ill people.

Having been a psychiatric nurse I do not feel that the two uses of the word [even though one is defunct now] should be linked.

Duffy - I visited there as part of my training - but that was over 20 years ago now...
Let those that love us, love us. And those that don't, may God turn their hearts. And, if He cannot turn their hearts, May He turn their ankles so we may know them by their limping!- Irish blessing

Duffy

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2008, 11:20:50 AM »
Don't worry about the usage of the 'idiot' word

I have to admit that I had / have no reservations using such a word in this context, as I'm obviously stating an - albeit unfortunate - historical fact.  What has caused me concern - nay, anger - is the way in which I've been made to feel as if I had personally / purposefully done wrong in using such terminology....

Purely a matter of conjecture, of course, but I'm sure that - had I not mentioned the full title of the site - someone else responding to the post would have done at some point!?

Re. Mazbeths comment: "I do not feel that the two uses of the word [even though one is defunct now] should be linked" - I'm sure that you would receive no argument from anyone with an ounce of consideration / decency in them.......  though this matter was never in question anyway, of course.

With regards to the Hospital itself, I had amassed a fair bit of information about the area concerned - though most of this was general, historical information which obviously give no real insight into the day to day mechanics of such an establishment.  The little light that has been shed on this angle by recent contact with ex-staff, etc, has been the inspiration for these recent appeals.......

I have visited the area a number of times over the years, my last jaunt falling only a week or so ago.  I concur with Langstraats appraisal of the site when he mentions it's 'history and sorrow remaining' and was taken with how much the new housing project reminded me of the old hospital!!

I dread to think what is being done to Great Barr Hall itself currently - though, in comparison to it's pre-renovation condition, I guess than anything would be better than nothing!?  One interesting fact which has been recently mentioned to me was the discovery of a haul of, what appeared to be, English Civil War period weaponry - possibly flags, etc, too - in a hidden section of the Hall cellars.  Structural alterations to the property brought about the demolition of a wall apparently, which led to the discovery.  While a lot of historic sites seem to hold some such legend - if not weapons, then bodies perhaps! - but the staff member concerned assured me this was a true story, as he and associates had viewed the treasures concerned and watched them being removed from the property(?)

Mazbeth - can I ask if you ever came across any of the legends / stories associated with the Hospital while you were there?  Thanks....

Regards,

Nick
www.westmidlandsghostclub.com   

Phil

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2008, 12:27:26 PM »
Nick

Let me start by saying I have no arguments with your terminology. Words are just words and unless uttered falsely, incorrectly or with malice. Used in the correct context they are only a means to explain situations, thoughts and ideas. In this case my belief is that you used the correct historical terminology.

I will say in defence of the site that made the ruling and removed (in their view) the offensive word.  Some of the members here, like you are also members of the site in question. Its is well known and has been mentioned on this site lately the upheaval and reformation the site in question has just undergone.

I think this has left the site a little over sensitive at the moment. With the moderators perhaps a little keen that they are seen to be doing their job correctly and with zeal, I think with the end result only being to the sites benefit.

I have read your post on that site, and their explanation for the removal of the word “idiot”. I also note that in your reply to that explanation you seem to accept their reasoning. Ultimately if you are only using this site or that site or  any site to gather information for use on your own studies or web page, then I think you have to put up with their rules and regulations no matter how incorrect you may think them to be.

Phil
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mazbeth

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2008, 02:36:38 PM »

Mazbeth - can I ask if you ever came across any of the legends / stories associated with the Hospital while you were there?  Thanks....

Regards,

Nick
www.westmidlandsghostclub.com  

no I'm sorry, I don't think so...it was so long ago now...I just vaguely remember getting there and meeting the others from my nursing group and it must have been a quick tour round as I can't remember anything.

your question brings to mind an episode of Torchwood in the last year...where they were in an old hospital and saw 'ghosts' [don't know if you saw it]
it was a sort of time warp and something needed to be resolved with a patient I think.
Good episode.
Let those that love us, love us. And those that don't, may God turn their hearts. And, if He cannot turn their hearts, May He turn their ankles so we may know them by their limping!- Irish blessing

Duffy

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Re: St Margarets Idiot Colony - Great Barr
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2008, 02:50:06 PM »
With the moderators perhaps a little keen that they are seen to be doing their job correctly and with zeal, I think with the end result only being to the sites benefit.

Dear Phil,

I certainly wouldn't criticise anyone for being careful / considerate, especially with some of the things that appear on forums these days. 

However, my reason for basically emphasising this matter is that, if someone is to investigate a claim / complaint - especially at the level where they are part responsible for a site, i.e. admin - then surely people should certainly consider a more 'innocent until proven guilty' attitude and perhaps find out something on the matter concerned before condemning someone? 

To be blunt, I was basically contacted by admin and informed that I was being 'derogatory and insensitive' and told: 'If you wish to continue in this vein I suggest you choose another site to do it on'. 

Certainly 'zeal', but..... doing the job correctly?

To me, it was clear that I was being addressed by someone who evidently had tried to deal with the matter without first having had any idea / knowledge of the situation concerned, or, for that matter tried to find out something on the matter before reacting to the complaint.  After explaining the details to the admin concerned, I was subsequently contacted, 'thanked for being understanding' and wished 'good luck with this, and other future enquiries'.  Unfortunately, while the matter was evidently cleared-up, the explanation given for the editing of the post by admin appeared a little vague and still could have been mis-interpreted.  I, therefore, believed that I should explain the situation, etc.

Cutting a long story short, I was - at the end of the day - evidently being called to question over someone elses lack of knowledge on / understanding of a given subject and, something that I find very offensive in the extreme, the assumption / intimation that I had purposefully intended to be derogatory towards mentally ill people. 

Not exactly a matter of how incorrect I 'happen to think' a thing is, but simply 'how incorrect' it is.......

Regards,

Nick
www.westmidlandsghostclub.com