Asylum and Workhouse Records


Asylums and Workhouses

More to follow but for now below are some reasons that you may be admitted to the asylum!!

Click the images for a clearer picture.  When you have a had a look at these you will see that we should all at some point have been admitted to the Lunatic Asylum!

Did you know that the Workhouse and Asylum where the origins of the NHS?

So what are some of these things that could land you in the workhouse?

Exposure and Quackery?? Whats that ? Well it’s when someone has been exposed as pretending to be someone from the medical professions – hence the term “Quack” for a doctor!

hereditary Predispotion  – meaning you are predisposed to a condition one of your parents may have – not necessarily that you have it.

So lots of bizarre reasons but what about laziness, mental excitement, imaginary female trouble, Salvation Army, greediness? They hardly sound like a reason you ought to be in the asylum – however they used as excuses by husbands to get rid of their wives! Charming – gents don’t try this now it doesn’t work (my husband to pay particular attention please!).

And what about novel reading, politics, falling from a horse? Well they weren’t saying that reading a novel has made you insane but that depending on what you were reading it could make you insane.  A bit like modern day fears that playing violent video games could make you violent in real life!

More to come:)

In the early 1800’s there were only 8 asylums in England caring for paupers and supported by local charities. For the rest of the country their “lunatics” were housed in Poor Law Workhouses or Madhouses that were privately licensed under the Madhouse Act of 1774.  As little was known about caring for people deemed as lunatics they were often mistreated and not cared for and they ended up in the Workhouse. Eventually the County Aslyum Act was passed which in 1845 made it compulsory for every county to have its own asylum, the intention being that those that needed care would receive therapeutic treatments in the hope of curing them, but due to issues with the Act only 20 county asylums were built.

Here is a brief history of some of more reknown asylums in England including some haunting pics to fire you imagination a bit too! PICS TO COME!

Whittingham Asylum, Lancashire – Opened in 1873 and over a period of time became the largest mental asylum in Britain.  The asylum eventually became Whittingham Psychiatric Hospital closing in 1995. In 1949 Whittingham housed over 3000 people – my poor great aunt Clara was one of these and she died here.  I believe Clara was sent there because she had an infectious disease and she spent her last few weeks in the sanatorium she was only 21 years old.  RIP Clara.

Hellingly Asylum – Sussex – what an awful name!  Opening in 1903 and closing 1994 at its peak housed over 2000 patients.

Severalls Asylum – Essex – sound sinister too.  Opened in 1913 and closed in 1997 at its peak housing around 1800 patients.

Stanley Royd – Yorkshire

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