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Writing and drama workshops to commemorate Suffolk's last Victorian asylum

A series of creative writing and drama workshops are being held to help mark the history of St Clement’s Hospital in Ipswich, Suffolk’s last Victorian asylum.

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, who currently own the St Clement’s Hospital site, have teamed up with Red Rose Chain theatre group and Inside Out Community art group to conserve and signify the 140 years of mental health history.

Maggie Wheeler, chair of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Commemorating the past is important as we move into a new era as a recently merged mental health Trust. Learning from the past is essential to maintaining the high quality of our services now and in the future.”

Members of the public, including patients, staff or visitors to St Clement’s, are encouraged to write their stories, poems or memoirs in a friendly and supportive atmosphere as part of the creative writing workshops. The workshops are on:

  • Tuesday, 24 January 2 - 4pm
  • Tuesday, 31 January 11am – 1pm
  • Tuesday 28 February 2 – 4 pm


Drama workshops, exploring themes around the history of St Clement’s Hospital, are also happening. Participants will need no previous experience and will be able to contribute their ideas and thoughts and/or take part in performing. The dates for these workshops are:

  • Tuesday, 7 February 2 – 4pm
  • Tuesday, 21 February 11am – 1pm
  • Tuesday, 6 March 11am – 1pm


All workshops will be held at Gippeswyk Hall, Gippeswyk Avenue, Ipswich IP2 9AF. Places are limited so it is advisable to register interest early. Contact Red Rose Chain on 01473 603388 or email

Materials produced from the workshops will be used as inspiration for a professional drama production later in the year. The play will give a voice to those with first hand experience of the hospital.

More information about the project is available at