Hidden Now Heard project unearths our silenced heritage

Mae gwirfoddolwyr wedi cofnodi atgofion cuddedig
Mencap’s new three year project is capturing the hidden and often painful living memories of former residents and staff from six of Wales’s long-stay hospitals, all of which had closed by 2006.

The Hidden Now Heard project exhibition at Wrexham Museum was launched last week by Communities and Tackling Poverty Minister, Lesley Griffiths, and will be open until 31 October before beginning its tour of Wales.

Visitors can explore a varied collection of objects, photographs and personal recollections from people like Patrick, a former patient at Bryn-Y-Neuadd hospital in Conwy. Patrick was prevented from attending his parent’s funeral after their death in the 1980s, and was never told where they were buried. It wasn’t until Hidden Now Heard volunteers were able to locate their graves, through extensive research, that he was able to visit their final resting place.

By showcasing previously unheard stories of people with learning disabilities in Wales, Hidden Now Heard is helping de-stigmatise the topic of mental health in an age when acceptance might be better than it was decades previously, but perhaps still has some way to go.

Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF Wales, explains why sharing stories like Patrick’s is particularly important: “What happened to Patrick is heart-rending, and would simply never happen today. But it is important we don’t forget how things used to be, and that stories and struggles like his are not forgotten.

“We are glad to have played a part in helping others like Patrick do some justice to their memories and experiences, by sharing them with the public today. I strongly recommend a visit to the exhibition if you’re in the area, as I’m sure it will be eye-opening for many people.”

You can visit the Hidden Now Heard exhibition free of charge at Wrexham Museum until 31 October, before it continues its tour of Wales.

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