The Whitchurch Project

Behind Many Doors: Writing from Whitchurch Psychiatric Hospital

Behind Many Doors

A vivid and revealing portrait of an Edwardian psychiatric hospital, 
created by those who know it most intimately

Behind Many Doors is an anthology of writing produced as part of The Whitchurch Project - a creative writing project marking the forthcoming closure of Whitchurch Hospital in north Cardiff. Sometimes shocking, often moving, always illuminating, this collection of writing will compel all those who turn its pages to think anew about the mental healthcare of the past and the future and to look again at a building that has impacted upon the lives of so many.

The Whitchurch Project was administered by Literature Wales, and led by writer and historian, Phil Carradice and writer and workshop facilitator, Briony Goffin. With Whitchurch Hospital’s closure on the horizon, the project was designed to give all those who have had a relationship with the hospital the opportunity to explore and express their experiences through creative writing.

Behind Many Doors is just a selection of the work that grew out of workshops, one-to-one writing sessions, interviews, as well as individual submissions. It is a vivid and revealing portrait of an Edwardian psychiatric hospital in Cardiff, created by those who know it most intimately. This unique anthology seeks to capture, preserve and shine a light on what Whitchurch Hospital has meant and still means to service users, staff members, visitors, carers and members of the local community across its long and complex history.

In her foreword to the anthology Briony Goffin said: “Sometimes psychiatric hospitals feel like secret worlds, enshrouded in mystery and rumour, regarded with trepidation; particularly those old redbrick institutions – the iconic gothic structure, beheld from afar, set alone amidst sweeping grounds and broad mature trees. The Whitchurch Creative Writing Project sought to shine light on that world… Together, these writers have produced a meaningful and moving legacy that not only offers intimate, historical insight into a particular world but could even assist in the way we think about the nature of hospitals, psychiatry, and the provision of holistic mental healthcare in the future.”

Behind Many Doors is available to buy direct from Literature Wales at the price of £9.99 per copy (plus p&p – total cost: £11.50. Note: the postage charge will be higher when buying multiple copies). All proceeds raised from the book with go back into literary projects in the fields of mental health and writing for wellbeing.

For further information and to buy your copy of the anthology, contact Literature Wales on: 029 2047 2266 /

The Whitchurch Project was funded by Literature Wales (formally Academi) and The Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (formally the Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust).