Oct 21

British Institutions pt2

I was listening to a radio 4 news item the other day about the decline of many old British hospitals, and that some are being resurrected as posh housing developments.  Including Holloway.

A blog on derelict British institutions including sanitariums can be found here.

Anyhow, probably one of the most famous sanitariums was Bethlem, which gave us the name bedlam – something now synonymous with the unpleasant historical views we have of patients with mental illnesses being locked away from the rest of society.  Not for their own good.  It wasn’t until around 1796 when the York Retreat was established that patients suffering mental illnesses were first treated humanely.  The Time Chamber also has a good write up of the York Retreat and asylums in general.

So when you turn up in New Zealand for the first time as fresh eyed Brits, it can come as a bit of a surprise that Sanitarium actually make breakfast cereals.  While we’re all familiar with Kellogg’s, being the original cereal company, and a little bit of history about the Battle Creek Sanitarium, it can seem quite strange how nobody blinks an eyelid about buying products with a Sanitarium label on them.  We’re clearly not in Kansas anymore.

For all that many kiwi’s share a common heritage, the same language and the same Queen – the differences with the UK can still surprise you.





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  1. Scott

    I always thought it quite apt that a sanitarium was a place for looneys who worshiped an imaginary sky god and thought they owned everything. Didn’t anyone else ?

  2. Avalon

    That was actually my Second thought – after the “Why Dont Kiwi’s get that this is a really daft name for a Cereal Company”.

    I am SO glad I am a Low-Carber :)


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