Beckenham

Bethlem Museum of the Mind- nominated for Art Fund 2016 Museum of the Year

Bethlem Gallery and Museum with statues 'Raving and Melancholy Madness' by Caius Gabriel Cibber c.1676

Raving and Melancholy Madness, by Caius Gabriel Cibber (c.1676). The statues once guarded the gates of Bethlem’s site at Moorfields. Image: Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Beckenham might be off the beaten track, but it’s very much on the cultural agenda right now.

The south-east London suburb is home to Bethlem Museum of the Mind, which was recently nominated for the Art Fund 2016 Museum of the Year.

Anna Burns went to discover one of the capital’s best-kept secrets.

According to Archivist Colin Gale, one of the museum’s star exhibits is a collection of nineteenth-century patient portraits by photographer Henry Hering.

Here he explains their significance.

Harriett Jordan, convalescence after acute mania by Henry Hering  Image: Bethlem Art and History Collections Trust

With an onsite gallery, Bethlem is an artistic hub for patients, past and present.

Matthew – a resident artist and service user – treats the spacious hospital grounds as his canvas. Here, he discusses his latest project.

The winner of the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016 will be announced on 6 July

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