The Moor

The Moor Psychiatric Hospital Lancaster

In 1994 I was appointed artist in residence at the Moor Psychiatric Hospital in Lancaster and worked on the unit specifically for the care of the extreme elderly.

The majority of the patients suffered from senile dementia or Alzheimer’s, many had been in the Moor for decades.

The hospital was in the process of closing down and a number of wards in the unit were being emptied.

On one such ward I found a chest of drawers.

In the top drawer was a selection of old glasses and in the drawer beneath was a collection of old photographs.

The ward orderly told me the glasses and photographs were those of patients who had died in the hospital and who unfortunately had no living relatives.

Their last few personal possessions were placed carefully into the drawers.

These glasses were the glasses they must have used to look at their fading photographs perhaps to attempt to pull back some fading memory.

Two simple wooden drawers containing a visual eulogy to forgotten lives.

Ian Beesley