Dr Hill Casebook

Dr Hills’ Casebook was a Change Minds programme that ran from 2019 – 2021, so through the challenge of lockdowns. The partnership with Norfolk Record Office was extended to South Norfolk and Broadland Community Connectors, and UpShoot Theatre Company.

Growing out of volunteer Richard Johnson’s research into Dr Hills, medical superintendent of Norfolk County Asylum in the 1880s, it encompassed on and off-line sessions, visits to places connected with the asylum, evaluation research and production of a new co-created play. The play tells the story of how Dr Hills, the Medical Superintendent of Norfolk County Asylum from 1861-1887, cared for his patients during a period of great poverty and negligible health and social care.

Moving between past and present, the filmed performance explores Dr Hills’ therapeutic compassion, revealed through fascinating mental health archives in Norfolk Record Office that the Change Minds’ archives and mental health programme has been researching since 2016. The play reflects on mental health today through the lens of Dr Hills’ practice. Using history and theatre, it tackles vital issues about the quality of care available to people now, as demand grows and services retreat.

Author Bel Greenwood wrote the play of Dr Hills’ Casebook, and it was directed by Laila France. Darren France coordinated the project as a whole, with the support of our historian Richard Johnson. Julian Claxton made the film of the play. Norfolk Record Office provided amazing support despite the difficulties of lockdown.

With thanks to our partners:

Dr Hills Casebook

This is an Aide Memoire of research into the life and times of Dr Hills, Superintendent of Norfolk County Asylum from 1861 to 1887. Researched and written by Richard Johnson, it is a core text for our new Change Minds project, Dr Hills Casebook.

“I feel a bit lifted. I can’t pinpoint what that is, but I think it’s the whole process of being involved in something that was just creative. And a little bit sad still that we’re just crap, as a human race really. I’m OK but… It’s just given me back my imagination.”

From the Evaluation Report

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