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Four Generations at Fair Mile Hospital, Cholsey – Oxfordshire FHS Talk – 28 January 2019

On Monday, 28 January, Ian Wheeler will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

Four Generations at Fair Mile Hospital, Cholsey

This presentation aims to examine a wide range of aspects of the county lunatic asylum system bequeathed to the nation by high-minded Victorian thinking. It does so through Ian Wheeler’s family connections with Fair Mile, Berkshire’s asylum from 1870; nine of his family worked there in a period of a little over a century. A key message is that, although ultimately in need of reform, the asylums were a force for good and that their value and importance has been overshadowed by a long-standing ‘bad press’ – some of which is simple misunderstanding and some the result of miserly government policy.

Ian Wheeler has spent years at a time in selling, purchasing, quality assurance, academic editing and train driving without causing major disasters. Most of his employers were enjoying better fortunes by the time he departed; some were beyond salvation. Now a gentleman of leisure, he tries to get around to all those tempting little retirement projects that beckoned as he slaved at his desk. In reality he spends most of his time slaving at a different desk and reflecting on the culpable fiction that is information technology.In quieter moments, Ian enjoys good literature, walking and classical music. He is also a performing folk musician, a morris dancer and a railway modeller, which goes to show that nothing in life is perfect.

We meet at the Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 1AB, with the talk starting at 8:00pm. Doors open at 7:15pm, when there will be advisors offering computer and genealogy help, and tea and coffee will be available.

Comments about this page

  • Ian Wheeler here – rather belatedly.
    I’m always willing to take tours around Fair Mile and discuss what I know of the hospital and its people. Contact me through OLHA.
    IW July 2022

    By Ian Wheeler (19 July 2022)
  • Hi

    Yes I had seen the book on the Berkshire FHS stand, but did not look in detail at it at the time. I was just interested to know what role his connections played at the hospital.

    Kind regards

    By Susie Pearce (06 December 2018)
  • Are you aware of Ian’s book? – Fair Mile Hospital: A Victorian Asylum – ISBN 0750956038

    By Webmaster (05 December 2018)
  • It is normal practice for a report to be put into the member’s area some time after the talk. Hopefully, this will continue.

    Kind regards,

    Christopher Fance

    By Christopher Fance (05 December 2018)
  • So sorry I will not be able to make this talk. My great great grandmother Eliza Pearce died in the hospital in 1873 from Dementia. It would have been interesting to know what role Ian’s ancestors played in the asylum.
    Will there will be any information put on the members area after the talk?

    Kind regards
    Susie Pearce

    By Susan Pearce (05 December 2018)

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