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The Retreat Archives Go Digital

The Wellcome Library will partner with the Borthwick Institute for Archives and the Royal College of Psychiatrists for a project which will digitise historical documents from the York Retreat and make them available to the public.

The project will mostly focus on records dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, and will touch on the movement away from institutional care as the 20th century progressed. Patient records and case notes, photographs, administrative documents and registers will be digitised, creating an extensive online archive that will be a valuable resource for historical research.

The documents will be available via the Wellcome Library’s website, where users will be able to search the archives using the catalogue and view documents on the media player.

The first material from The Retreat archive is now available online via the Wellcome Library Catalogue. This is only a tiny batch that we did as a test, so just 2000 digital images mostly of minute books (we are working through The Retreat archive catalogue in order and the administrative and management papers come first). We have delivered batch 2 to the Wellcome Library and this should appear online in the next few weeks, and we are currently in the process of delivering batch 3 (which is largely patient correspondence so some really interesting material here) so this will be on its way too.

You can access the archives here