Story: Mental health services

Asylums: 'strong clothing' at Porirua (2nd of 4)

Asylums: 'strong clothing' at Porirua

Porirua Lunatic Asylum, established in 1884, was once New Zealand's largest hospital. F Ward housed 'refractory' (disturbed) female psychiatric patients from 1910 until the 1970s. Until the advent of tranquillisers, refractory patients who were thought likely to soil and remove their clothes, or who were considered unpredictable or dangerous, wore canvas and heavy cotton clothing like soft-jackets with a variety of strong fastenings. Examples of this 'strong clothing' are on display at the Porirua Hospital Museum, housed in the former F Ward building, which is now a registered historic place.

Courtesy of Porirua Hospital Museum

Using this item

Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Photograph by Marguerite Hill

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How to cite this page:

Warwick Brunton, 'Mental health services - Lunatic asylums, 1840s to 1900s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 24 June 2024)

Story by Warwick Brunton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 5 May 2022