SIR – Following your article (T&A, August 29) re High Royds Menston, I thought readers would be interested to know that West Yorkshire Archive Service holds the archives of this establishment.
The county-wide collection of hospital and health records is one of West Yorkshire Archive Service’s most significant, dating from 1814 to the present day, totalling over 7,000 boxes, and includes material on three out of the four mental health hospitals, which together comprised the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum – High Royds, Menston, Stanley Royd, Wakefield, and Storthes Hall, Huddersfield, and has just won a UNESCO award.
Those relating to High Royds, run from 1884 when the hospital was being constructed to 2002. Most are patient case files from 1888-c1967, including individual photographs of inmates and are absolutely fascinating giving full details of symptoms and treatments etc.
The archives are publicly available to view at the Wakefield office of WYAS free of charge. It’s always worth contacting them for further advice as the sensitive nature of the hospital material means some restrictions on records under 100 years old.
Archive staff are happy to advise on this. Contact West Yorkshire Archive Service: Tel: 01924 305980, website: www.archives.wyjs.org.uk.
Cllr Val Slater, chairman of West Yorkshire Archives committee