Hey all! Hope you are well?!
The other day I had to drive Kiddo 2.5 hours to drop him off for a visit with his father……To break up the journey I stopped to pick up some caches and stretch our legs before the journey back home….
In 2017/18, Geocaching HQ awarded around 4000 geocachers the opportunity to place a virtual cache. A virtual cache is one where a log book to sign to say you were at the location is not present, either because of the location, historical importance of the site or risk of cache being removed and various other reasons. Virtual caches had not been allowed to be placed for some years but this award was widely welcomed by the geocaching community.
This cache (GC7B8ED) is one of the new ones from the award, and is located in the cemetery of what was the Knowle psychiatric hospital which did not close until 1996! The site of the hospital has now been transformed and developed into an urban housing community. The old hospital buildings were converted in to flats and additional homes were built in the remaining grounds.
Now, I’m not one who usually hangs around in grave yards, I find them a bit spooky to be honest and don’t like being reminded of my own mortality…… but this relatively new virtual cache description made me want to visit as I had written an essay on this hospital in the early stages of my degree studies….
This cemetery appears long forgotten with trees growing through the more grandiose graves of the well off patients….
The poor patients were buried 4 or more to a grave with just simple numbered iron crosses to mark them..
eventually, the poor patients were buried individually with stone markers, but still numbers not names to mark their resting places.
I shudder at the history of psychiatric hospitals of the late 19th/ early 20th Century, the trauma the patients went through when they were already traumatised and ill is sickening to contemplate. This place made me sad at the number of people who were buried here and forgotten about after generally pretty barbaric “treatment”…..but clearly not everyone is forgotten and this simple flower posy cheered me considerably.
This site is strangely peaceful, a little eerie and thought provoking. I do not know if the cache owner is a descendent of someone buried here but I am glad to have been able to visit. I hope many cachers visit and pay their respects to the forgotten…..