Re-discovering Leicestershire’s Victorian Lunatic Asylums

In 2013 expresseum poetics worked with the voluntary group BrightSparks Arts in Mental Health on a local heritage project to explore the history of two lunatic asylums, which served Leicester City and Leicestershire County in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Research was undertaken by members of the ArtSpace group (a group for artists experiencing mental ill-health and social exclusion issues.) Participants visited local archives, a museum store, and the sites of the two asylums. The group also worked with an artist to creatively interpret their discoveries.

A website and a small touring exhibition were created to share the fascinating information that had been discovered.

Visit the website at


If you would like to borrow the small touring exhibition Refuge or Detention: Re-discovering Leicestershire’s Victorian Lunatic Asylums, contact:

Tim Sayers

Arts in Health Co-ordinator

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust





The project was funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s All Our Stories program, and was one of a number of nation-wide initiatives.