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Chapel tribute to ‘pauper’ patients
11:00am Friday 29th June 2012 in News
A chapel to commemorate the deaths of nearly 3,000 people at a former psychiatric hospital will have an open day next month after the completion of refurbishment work.
The Friends of High Royds Memorial Garden have been working on the interior of the chapel, in Buckle Lane, Menston, next to land where 2,861 former patients at the High Royds Hospital were buried in unmarked paupers’ graves.
They have been aided with a £10,000 grant for the work and now it is completed in time for the open day, from 10am to 1pm on Saturday, July 7.
Last July, the friends officially opened their memorial garden, to complete phase one of the scheme, and are now looking forward to the chapel being used to remember life in the hospital, which closed in 2003, but also for displays and exhibitions backing the fight against discrimination of people with mental health issues.
In their latest newsletter, Ron Sweeney, trustee and chairman of the friends group and honorary secretary Quentin Mackenzie, said the management committee was open to ideas as to what should be displayed in the refurbished chapel.
The newsletter says: “The interior has been re-plastered, electric heating and lighting are in place and an altar table and pews have been donated by two Bradford churches.
“Portraits of some former High Royds residents are also on display.
“Your help, in supplying or suggesting any suitable photographs or artefacts that we can consider for the historical display would be appreciated.”
The friends say the chapel will also be used in a National Heritage trail scheme in September, in conjunction with Leeds Civic Trust. They are also looking for volunteers and help to maintain the chapel and the gardens.
For more information about the Friends of High Royds Memorial Garden, call Quentin Mackenzie on (01943) 876625 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.