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.

Towards the end of 2014 we will be moving to a new building on the hospital site and re-launching as Bethlem Museum of the Mind.

The ‘Museum of the Mind’ project will provide new gallery and learning spaces, secure our unique collections for future generations and enable us to bring more works of art and objects out of the stores. 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

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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:

Bryan Charnley: The Art of Schizophrenia, 16 February - 22 May 2015

The inaugural exhibition at the Museum of the Mind will be the first major retrospective of Bryan Charnley for a generation.  The paintings of Bryan Charnley (1949-1991) use visual metaphor and symbolism to vividly illustrate the physical experience of schizophrenia, an illness Charnley lived with from adolescence until his premature death in 1991.

Bringing together works from the Bethlem collection and many rarely seen works from the Estate of Bryan Charnley, this exhibition looks back at Charnley’s life and work – from his early photo-realist inspired  portraits and cityscapes to the direct expression and communication of his later allegorical paintings, many inspired by other works in the Bethlem collection. ‘Here I saw art stripped of all esoteric and conceptual pretensions’, he wrote, ‘I gladly adopted this approach which seemed to be more vital than any current “-ism”’.


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