About Joe Hughes

Joe Hughes has worked in the health field for over 40 years. With a background in mental health and general nursing, he eventually retrained and now works as a private chiropodist.


Whilst enjoying an eventful career in acute psychiatry up to the level of Clinical Nurse Manager he also ran a large trade union branch of Unison as branch secretary. With early retirement beckoning he retrained as a chiropodist/podiatrist and now runs a successful part-time, private visiting practice in addition to his writing and speaking activities.


His first DVD 'Where there is despair - let me sow hope - A Photographic History of St Francis Psychiatric Hospital, Haywards Heath (1859 - 1995)' tells the story of the hospital using on-screen rolling text. Joe illustrates the DVD with hundreds of photographs, many of them lovingly taken and edited by himself. 'Asylum Symphony', composed and produced by Joe's daughter Ciara, complements the text and photographs beautifully.


Joe recently published 'My Asylum' , a History and Personal Memoir of St Francis Psychiatric Hospital in Haywards Heath, West Sussex. In his latest book he revisits his thirty year nursing and demanding trade union careers at the hospital which opened in 1859 and carried on its work for the next 136 years before closing in 1995 to make way for modern advances in the community based care of mental health sufferers. Full details of both the DVD and the book feature on this site under 'Publications' and can be ordered from www.amazon.co.uk


He regularly gives talks on the history of St Francis Hospital and also takes guided walks of the grounds which have been beautifully and tastefully redeveloped as Southdowns Park.


His first novel 'Madhouse' is due to be published in the near future.


A witty collection of his poetry 'Fun and Young Stuff' is not only for children but also for those young at heart!


With his roots in County Louth, Ireland, Joe now lives in West Sussex with his family but returns regularly to his native Irish soil.