A BLUE plaque was unveiled on Friday (27) for a 19th century psychiatrist who helped transform the way patients were treated.

West London NHS Trust welcomed guests including Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, to St Bernard's Hospital for the tribute to Dr John Conolly.

Dr Conolly lived from 1794 to 1866 and worked at the former Hanwell Asylum. He was an early advocate of humane treatments for people living with mental illness.

Friday would have been Conolly's 228th birthday. The plaque is on what would have been a wing of the asylum in Conolly's time and is now part of St Bernard's Hospital.

It was there that Conolly, a supporter of the asylum system as a means of care and cure, helped transform the lives of people hospitalised with mental health problems.

He advocated a system of 'non-restraint' which removed the handcuffs, leg irons and strait jackets regularly used in most asylums.

Dr Derek Tracy, Medical Director of West London NHS Trust, said: “His pioneering efforts helped humanise and de-stigmatise the care of some of the most vulnerable in society.”