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