To : Nurse Garton, Main West Riding Asylum, Wakefield
Dear E, A P.C.to let you know that we are both well. Thanks for your letter. I have got over my fall very nicely. We had Robert yesterday and Hilda. They are both well and wish to be remembered to you. Been walking today. Will write in a few days. Love from Francis and Mother.
An old 1913 postcard I bought few a few pence from an antique market stall. People are pictured enjoying the sands and the sea at the popular Yorkshire resort of Scarborough. But, to me, the card serves to focus attention on two iconic buildings. The first is the truly magnificent Grand Hotel which can be seen in the centre of the above view. When it was built in 1867 it was, with its 365 rooms, one of the largest and the finest hotels anywhere in the world : a veritable palace of pleasure, comfort and relaxation.
The second building cannot be seen, but its presence is there, in the shadows, like some ever-damned twin. Look at the address on the card and put together your own picture of the West Riding Asylum for Pauper Lunatics at Stanley Royd, Wakefield. No palace of pleasure or comfort this, but a grim and dark sanctuary for those whom society would rather forget. Built in 1818 for the insane-poor (a phrase which manages to allow cause and effect to cohabit) at a cost of £36,448.4s.9d : here is a building that never saw the sea, the sands nor carefree laughter.