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- British Columbia. Provincial Mental Hospital, Essondale: Audio-Visual Department
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The Audio-Visual Department at Essondale was officially established in 1947. Essondale Hospital had a single silent 35 mm film projector and sound and film projector during the 1920s and 1930s, and held weekly dances on an amplified phonograph as early as 1938. In 1940, two 35 mm sound on film projectors were installed on ward A2 in West Lawn. During this period, audio-visual equipment was largely used for patient enjoyment.
In 1946, audio-visual equipment for educational, clinical, and recreational purposes was organized at Essondale under Guy H. Walker, the head of the audio-visual department. At this time, they acquired 16mm films to show on wards for patients who could not attend films in ward A2. They also managed still projectors for slides and transparencies. In 1947, the department had three staff members and held regular picture schedules. They began collecting a 16mm library of both educational and recreational videos. Additionally, they had a phonograph record library and wired sound equipment into patient dining rooms, the lawns, and airing courts.
In 1948, the department acquired a still camera and fully-equipped darkroom for producing slides and prints. The audio-visual department began documenting all aspects of the hospital through their photography program and printed photographs in-house.
In 1953, the department moved to Pennington Hall where, for the first time, they had the advantages of an adequate auditorium for screening films. They countined programming wired music and radio across buildings and on the lawns and even extended their range out to the Riverside Unit at Colony Farm.
In 1966, the department became incorporated into the Industrial Therapy Department in order to consolidate their resources in one location. It was then known as the Audio-Visual Division.