By Serena Trowbridge
The nineteenth-century asylum was once the scene of either bad abuses and demanding developments in therapy and care. The essays during this assortment examine the asylum from the point of view of where itself – its structure, investment and goal – and on the adventure of these who have been despatched there.
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Additional resources for Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century
23 The volume’s own Advertisement (or Preface) encourages us to look for the troubled and prophetic tone in her text. Betham dispenses with the timidity that characterized prefatory remarks in her earlier publications and claims instead that the group of poems in this collection, many of which had been written a few years previously, unintentionally anticipated personal experiences: As far as the seventy-fourth page, these Poems have been printed about two years; during which many things happened likely to prevent their ever appearing.
Higgins’s description revealed many of the same notions that informed Spring Vale. 55 ‘I feel myself obliged by the letter of Mr. 56 Bakewell was not alone in his indignation. Yorkshireman ‘W. S. ’. The asylum could be built cheaply; the magistrates’ £28,000 price-tag required such a hike in the county rate as to ‘throw the weight unjustly upon country parishes’ suffering under the costs of the decade-long Napoleonic Wars and ‘the present depressed state of … agricultural interest[s] … I beg leave to ask Mr.
25 Local 1813 investigations heard evidence of physical and sexual abuse in cramped, filthy, dark and damp confinement. 26 Moral treatment, such as that outlined in Samuel Tuke’s influential Description of the Retreat (1813),27 recognized the potential curability of insanity. Confinement, mechanical restraint and the traditional ineffective medical methods of habitual purges and bleedings were rejected; the instillation of selfrestraint would hasten recovery. People with mental illness were treated as capable of rational thought and sensible of their surroundings, though were also separated by gender and behavioural presentation.