A group of A Level drama students visited St Catherine’s House, in Woodfield Park, Doncaster, on World Mental Health Day (October 10) to learn more about its history and how NHS services have changed since the building was a former mental health hospital.

The six students and their drama teacher Joelle Owen from St Mary’s Catholic High School in Chesterfield held their lesson in the historical building formerly known as St Catherine’s Hospital as part of their research for a play they are performing called ‘Airswimming’ by Charlotte Jones.

The play is based on the real life story and friendship of two women who spent 50 years at St Catherine’s Hospital until the early 1970s.

Together with their drama teacher Joelle Owen the students met staff of Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) and toured the building.

Philip Gowland, RDaSH Director of Corporate Assurance, said: “I want to thank Joelle and the students for coming along and taking the opportunity to visit and meet us. St Catherine’s House is steeped in history and I hope that the knowledge that they have gained from talking to our staff will help them in their studies and give them a better understanding of how mental health services have changed over the years.”

St Catherine’s House was originally built for the Banks family in 1839 and known as St Catherine’s Hall. After all the family had died the building was auctioned and acquired by the Ministry of Health and known as St Catherine’s Institution. After the birth of the NHS in 1948, the building became St Catherine’s Hospital and then St Catherine’s House.