Tommy Hannam has been using Grace Eyre’s services for a long time. He first joined Shared Lives nearly 50 years ago. He has been living with his current carers since 2001. He enjoys creating art including mosaics and building model castles. He has also worked on Grace Eyre’s reception for many years.
But before coming to Grace Eyre, he lived in a big hospital called St Lawrence’s, in Surrey. St Lawrence’s was one of the big institutions where lots of people with learning disability lived. It wasn’t a nice place to live. Tommy was a young boy when he first went there and he stayed for 20 years.
He told us about his time there.
You can find out more about these big hospitals, sometimes called asylums or institutions, by looking at our timeline. You can find the link at the bottom of this page.
St Lawrence’s closed in 1994. Eventually all these hospitals were closed. People agreed that it wasn’t right to keep people away from the rest of society.
Videos to watch:
- Jan showed Tommy a book about the story of Mabel Cooper. Mabel was also sent to St Lawrence’s in the 1950s. She was there at the same time as Tommy. Tommy shares some of the same memories as Mabel. You can find out more about Mabel’s life and how she came to leave St Lawrence’s here: https://www.open.ac.uk/health-and-social-care/research/shld/resources-and-publications/life-stories/mabels-story or you can watch the film about her here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZAgOs4Ngn4
- Tommy talked to us about Katherine, his girlfriend at St Lawrence’s.