David Kennedy Henderson b.24 April 1884 d.20 April 1965 was a Scottish psychiatrist and a president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.
He co-published with R.D. Gillespie A Textbook of Psychiatry (first edition 1927), which became internationally influential for several decades. A series of lectures he gave in New York, America, were published as Psychopathic states in 1939, and ended up contributing to a narrowing of the public understanding of psychopathy as violently antisocial, though Henderson had described various different types many of which were not violent or criminal. The Henderson Hospital, a specialist national unit in London set up to manage and treat ‘psychopathic’ personality disorder, was named after him.
He was physician-superintendent in charge at the Gartnavel Royal Hospital in Glasgow from 1921 to 1932. His textbook on psychiatry has been described as the key to the Glasgow approach to mental illness, and Henderson in turn credited the approach of the influential Adolf Meyer whom he had worked with in America. Henderson also studied for some months in Germany with a key founder of modern psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin, whom he admired but found lacking in sensitivity to patients.
He was knighted in 1947 and elected president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1949. He died on 20 April 1965 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Henderson taught Donald Ewan Cameron, who also worked at the Gartnavel Hospital, would write an obituary for Henderson in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Cameron would rise to international prominence as President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Association and World Psychiatric Association, but ultimately be known for conducting harmful experiments on mental patients as part of the MK Ultra project. Henderson’s approach as expressed in his textbook is also thought to have influenced the infamous ‘antipsychiatrist’ R.D. Laing who later worked at the Gartnavel Hospital
David Kennedy (Sir) Henderson Kt(1947) MB ChB Edin(1907) MD Edin(1913) Hon MD NUI(1958) Hon DSc McGill(1959)
Richard R Trail [Amer. J. Psychiat., 1965, 122, 467-9; Brit.med.J., 1965, 1, 1194 (p), 1384; J, nerv. ment. Dis., 1965,141,263-4; Lancet, 1965, 1, 964-5 (p); Scotsman, 21 Apr. 1965 (p); Times, 23 Apr. 1965 (p).] (Volume V, page 188) SOURCE
Reference Code: GB239 GD16
Title: Physician Superintendents of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital
Dates of Creation of Material: 1850s-1980s
Level of Description: Fonds
Extent and Medium of the Unit of Description: 12 shelf metres: bound volumes, papers, architectural plans, photographs, artworks
LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON Henderson Hospital 1947-2008 2 Homeland Drive, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5LT
Following WW2 a Social Rehabilitation Unit was established on a corner of the Belmont Hospital site for soldiers suffering from war neuroses (paralysis, tremors, depression or recurring nightmares – what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder).
The unit progressed to treating adults who had experienced extreme neglect or abuse in childhood, to help them overcome their difficulties.
In 1959 it was renamed the Henderson Hospital, after the Scottish psychiatrist Professor Sir David Henderson (1884-1965), author of Psychopathic States, a book which became an instant classic on the subject.
It was the first British hospital to develop a patient-orientated approach to the treatment of psychopathic disorders. Its ethos was that those who had experienced similar traumas would be best placed to offer support to their peers – a ‘therapeutic community’.
Adult patients suffering from personality disorder would be resident for up to a year. Pioneering treatment consisted of combined group-based psychotherapy and sociotherapy as alternatives to medication. Art and music therapy, psychodrama and work groups for cooking, gardening and maintenance took place regularly during the week. Patients outnumbered staff by 3 to 1 and were given a major say in who could be admitted.
In 1965 the Hospital had 100 beds, of which 68 were staffed. The weekly cost of an in-patient was £29 9s 8d (£29.48), which rose dramatically in 1966 to £47 12s 8d (£47.63).
In 1970 the weekly cost of an in-patient was £48.54 and, in 1971, £56.35.
Until 2005 the Hospital had received national funding from the National Specialist Commissioning Advisory Group (NSCAG), part of the Department of Health. In 2006 the NSCAG passed the task of commissioning the Henderson Hospital to a consortium of 128 PCTs in South East England, all of which could refer patients to the Hospital. Each PCT was required to pay the Hospital £23,000 annually, regardless of the number of patients it referred there (or not). However, the consortium was unable to prevent PCTs from withdrawing funding for the 2007-2008 period if they so chose. As most PCTs were under financial pressures of their own, about two-thirds of the consortium opted to pay on a cost-per-case basis. Thus, the contract money for the Hospital dried up and the 29-bedded Henderson Hospital became financially unviable as referrals dwindled. By the beginning of 2008 only five patients were resident.
The successful Henderson Hospital – one of only two such specialist hospitals in the country to treat personality disorders effectively and humanely – closed ‘temporarily’ in April 2008, a victim of the new, complicated, and perhaps self-defeating, government funding policy.
One of the patients was discharged as cured and the remaining four transferred to the Cassel Hospital in Richmond.
Present status (August 2008)
The main gate is closed and padlocked. The building remains vacant while debate continues about the Hospital re-opening here or elsewhere
- Feb 2008 PDF Briefing regarding the Closure of the Henderson Hospital
Jun 2008 PDF ITEM 10 Henderson Hospital Update
- April 2008 Henderson Hospital closes today – a failure by the NHS? https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/Archive/2008/April-2008/Henderson-Hospital-closes-today—a-failure-by-the
- Lives of the fellows
- Henderson, David Kennedy | Index to Doctors in Scotland WW1 smsec.rcpe.ac.uk ›
- Hazel Morrison | Asylum & Post-Asylum Spaces
- Constructing Patient Stories: ‘Dynamic’ Case Notes and Clinical Encounters at Glasgow’s Gartnavel Mental Hospital, 1921–32
JONATHAN ANDREWS Case notes, case histories, and the patient’s experience of insanity at Gartnavel Royal Asylum, Glasgow, in the nineteenth century
- A text-book of psychiatry for students and practitioners / by D. K. Henderson and R. D. Gillespie
DAVID KENNEDY HENDERSON (1884-1965)
written by Dr D. EWEN CAMERON https://doi.org/10.1176/ajp.122.4.467