chapter  7
‘The Place Was a Home From Home’: Identity and Belonging in the English Cottage Home for Convalescing Psychiatric Patients, 1910–1939
ByStephen Soanes
Pages 16

Cottage homes for convalescing psychiatric patients first appeared in England in the 1880s. This chapter explores how cottage homes influenced patients' experience of discharge, identity and belonging through residential psychiatric aftercare. It argues that despite its potentially welcome homeliness, the cultivated domesticity of the cottage home presented an artificial and essentially institutional environment for the management of psychiatric improvement. The chapter explains that cottage homes merit further examination in their own right, especially because they functioned to mediate patient pathways from sickness to health and self-sufficiency. As it explores, the Mental After-Care Association (MACA) would increasingly emphasize the professional skill and experience of its cottage-home matrons. The chapter examines how claims for the cottage home's domestic ordinariness were to some extent contradicted by the artificiality of their planning, regulation and administration. Finally, it considers how some patients contested the functions that the halfway homes offered.