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Early 1900s – Hospitals for the insane

At the turn of the century, families were required to care for their children with disability without assistance.

Medium Claremont Hospital

Claremont Hospital for the Insane had a 'quiet and chronic block' (floor plan above).

Children with disability were viewed as unable to be educated and parents were often advised to “put their children away and get on with their lives".It is highly likely the people in this block were not insane, but more probably people with severe and multiple disability.

The floor plan shows three dormitories, two each with 12 beds and one with 19 beds. There are eight single rooms, four attendants' rooms and two receiving rooms. The bath and dressing rooms show three baths, each the length of the beds in the dormitories, and three showers.


A male dormitory in the ‘Quiet and Chronic block’ (above) at Claremont Hospital for the Insane 1904. Click to enlarge.

It appears that there are only three small rooms marked WC, suggesting that the ablutions for this facility when at its capacity of 51 people would hardly be sufficient. Even assuming that the single rooms were not to be inhabited on a permanent basis - two of them are marked half padded to suggest a 'time out' facility - 43 dormitory dwellers would be pushed to manage with these limited ablutions.