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Dancing at the Asylum by Marilyn Ricci

Published July 2021.


Carlton Hayes Hospital stood between the villages of Narborough and Enderby in South Leicestershire between 1908 and 1996. It was the psychiatric hospital for Leicestershire and could accommodate up to 900 people suffering from a range of mental illnesses. It was also a source of local employment and a centre for social activities with ‘the best dance floor in the county’.
Marilyn Ricci has imagined the lives of two fictional patients in the hospital: Edward Smythe and Mary Warburton. Edward and Mary’s stories unfold through a sequence of poems, culminating in the Christmas Dance of 1966.


Marilyn Ricci is a poet, playwright and editor living in Narborough, Leicestershire. For many years she worked for the Open University. Her poetry has been widely published, including a pamphlet Rebuilding a Number 39 from HappenStance Press, and Night Rider, a full-length collection published by Soundswrite Press.

Paperback (pp42) Price £6.60 including P&P in UK