Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives and Museum

Bethlem Royal Hospital was founded in 1247 and was the first institution in the UK to specialise in the care of the mentally ill. The hospital continues to provide in-patient care as part of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and has been based since 1930 in the outer London suburbs.

The Archives and Museum offer an unparalleled resource for the history of mental healthcare and treatment. We care for the archives of Bethlem Royal Hospital, the Maudsley Hospital and Warlingham Park Hospital, and a collection of historic objects and art, including works by former Bethlem patients such as Jonathan Martin, Richard Dadd and Louis Wain.

In February 2015 Bethlem Museum and Archives was re-launched as "Bethlem Museum of the Mind." It records the lives and experiences and celebrates the achievements of people with mental health problems. Our aim is to make our collections more accessible, and to provide accurate information to help in their interpretation.

Set in the old administration building of Bethlem Royal Hospital, the museum has two main galleries, a learning space and a shop. We also have family trails available for our permanent space, and dependent on the exhibition, we also have trails available for our temporary exhibitions. We are also open the first and last Saturday of the month, and have one late Thursday opening per month. During these openings we have free talks and events. taking place. Please check our website before visiting for more information about upcoming lectures and to book tickets.

This exciting project has attracted generous funding from Maudsley Charity, the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Garfield Weston Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation and the Foyle Foundation.

Contact Us

Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Bethlem Royal Hospital
Monks Orchard Road
Tel. 020 3228 4307/4227
Fax. 020 3228 4045

Follow bethlemheritage on Twitter

Visitor Information

Opening Hours

10:00-17:00 (last entry 16:30)
Pre-Booked Groups:
Monday and Tuesday
Open to Public:
Wednesday-Friday (except public holidays)
Saturday (first and last of the month)

Archives open by appointment only.

Admission free but donations welcome.

Charing Cross to Eden Park, Victoria to East Croydon
(From East Croydon) 119, 198, (from Eden Park) 356


Current & Forthcoming Exhibitions:

Keep the home fires burning: Stories from the Great War
29 August - 31 September 2015

A new exhibition at Bethlem Museum of the Mind will focus on World War One from the home front perspective. It brings together stories from various affected groups, including soldiers and their families, women, psychiatric patients and refugees. The stories are gathered from a selection of objects belonging to Bromley Museum and Bromley Local Studies and Archives, along with patient records from Bethlem Royal Hospital, held at the Bethlem Museum of the Mind. Through these objects visitors will find evidence of the immense impact the war had on these groups as well as the opportunity to reflect upon the eventual recovery of the nation from the War.

As with mental illness, the War had devastating effects on people’s lives. The exhibition would like to remember the suffering experienced during those years highlighting the idea of resilience and recovery, as approaches that continue to have the capacity to improve the prognosis of people, either vulnerable or affected, with mental health disorders.

Free family trails available.

A self portrait of Richard Dadd
The Art of Bedlam: Richard Dadd 
7 November 2015  - 6 February 2016

A major retrospective of Victorian artist Richard Dadd (1817-1886), who created a significant amount of work while detained as a 'criminal lunatic' at Bethlem Royal Hospital. Developed in partnership with the Watts Gallery, the exhibition brings together works spanning Dadd's life, including rarely-seen paintings from public and private collections.

Free entry (suggested donation £2).

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