The Museum gardens are a green space at the heart of York on the banks of the Ouse. The gardens house not only the Yorkshire Museum but also the ruins of St Leonard’s Hospital believed to have been one of the largest medieval hospitals in the north of England. Little was known then about how disease spread, and there were numerous misconceptions surrounding different types of illnesses. For centuries, the mentally ill were treated as criminals to be caged, tortured and even displayed for public entertainment although public opinion changed during the eighteenth century.
The hospice in York is named St Leonards reflecting the tradition of care that was established by St Leonard’s Hospital between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries.