North Wales & You – get involved

Anyone arriving at the site will find that the records from 4 of the historical years have been presented in detail. These let you see the actual case materials on which we’ve based some of the conclusions we’ve drawn.

But we have 46 more years’ worth of historical records ready to be loaded. These might provide the basis for an MA or DPhil or PhD thesis. We can make the records for any of these years available to anyone interested to engage. The hope is that anyone doing so would try to replicate or develop what Margaret Harris has done for 1875, 1890, 1905 and 1920. This would involve curating the records for display and chasing historical detail on issues locally or globally linked to that year that the cases in these records prompt. 

Our hope is to make this site of interest for visitors from Argentina to Japan by being intensely local. Our belief is that if people from anywhere in the world look closely at what happens in a particular area they will recognise commonalities between the experience there and their own.

This means that we hope anyone adopting a year or group of years will chase:

  • local North Wales details
  • local details from elsewhere that brings out common features between there and North Wales
  • details that add to our understanding of Mental Health and its disorders as well as general medicine and its disorders

In due course we will supplement what’s here with material that will be broadly labelled perhaps ‘1950’ telling the story of mental health in the period between the historical era and the contemporary era.

There will also be a further section, notionally termed 2001, which will give a picture of the patient flow through the Hergest Unit in North West Wales in that year and will help bring out the changing features between now and the historical period.

In terms of local detail the politics of healthcare in North Wales in recent decades has been fascinating and recapitulates the story that led to the founding of the North Wales Asylum in the first instance. The hope here is that bringing out aspects of the contemporary picture will enable people to better understand the factors that were at play in the historical period also – it will help humanise the historical period.

This is an active site. In addition to using the site to get a research degree, you can become part of the Madness as:

·        An informal researcher struck by some curiosity of healthcare or mental healthcare history that you feel would be of interest to others coming to this site

·        As someone interested in the historical period and keen to bring out social aspects of this that have impinged on healthcare either in the UK or anywhere else in the world

·        As someone from North Wales who has photographs or other artefacts that might help feed the imagination of people visiting the site.

·        As an artist stimulated to write a story, play or poem bearing on mental illness that could sit beside the stories from Dangerous Asylums already on the site.

·        As someone aware of stories, plays and poems bearing on mental illness.

·        As a musician or composer whose work has links to the themes of health and illness, particularly mental illness (see Night Terrors).

·        As someone aware of music that tells something of the experience of mental illness 100 years ago or today.

·        As a visual artist interested to contribute to the material that is here.

In all these cases we would love to hear from you. You can contact us on the details below:

Department of Psychological Medicine, Hergest Unit, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor, LL57 2PW, UK.

Tel: 00 44 (0)1248 384452; Email:

Or via our Facebook page: