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Spaces of Confinement: The Asylum as Utopia in the 19th Century

TOPIC 5 (WEEK 7): INTRODUCTION
There is a huge reading list for this week’s session, but don’t panic – much of this is intended for further reading and essay preparation. The work of Roy Porter, Andrew Scull, Jo Melling, Peter Bartlett, Louise Hide, Robert Ellis and David Wright are particularly useful and intriguing, and you should aim to familiarise yourselves with their work and views over the coming weeks. This week we will focus on a period of consolidation – marked by the 1845 Lunatics Acts – as asylums were lauded as the solution to lunacy care and treatment, particularly by the doctors running them. This was also a period of massive growth in the number of asylums and number of patients held in asylums, which marked a shift from optimism to pessimism, and concern about incurable, chronic cases. As well as considering W.A.F. Browne’s intriguing document on the ideal asylum, we will look at the processes of admission and discharge and at the relationship between the asylum and the Poor Law. For this seminar, reading will be allocated between the group in order to stimulate debate on the various frameworks put forward by historians for explaining the rise and significance of asylums. Brookwood Lunatic Asylum fnacy dress ball, from the Illustrated London News (1881)
 
QUESTIONS
Men exercising at the Metropolitan Lunatic Asylum, Kew, Australia
  1. ‘A convenient place to get rid of inconvenient people’. Is this an apt description of 19th-century asylums?
  2. How can we explain the huge expansion in asylums after 1845?
  3. Were 19th-century asylums utopian?
  4. Who did asylums end up serving: patients, families, communities or doctors?
  5. Could moral treatment adapt and survive as asylums expanded over the course of the 19th century?
DOCUMENTS
‘What Asylums Ought to Be’, Lecture V, W.A.F. Browne, ‘What Asylums Were, Are, and Ought to Be’ (1837), in Andrew Scull (ed.), The Asylum as Utopia: W.A.F. Browne and the Mid-Nineteenth Century Consolidation of Psychiatry (London and New York: Tavistock/Routledge, 1991), pp. 176-231. Chapter scanned (course extracts HI383), available via Talis Aspire and two copies of book in library
‘Report of the Metropolitan Commissioners in Lunacy, 1844’, in Brian Watkin, Documents on Health and Social Services 1834 to the Present Day (London: Methuen, 1975), pp. 357-64. Short extracts from the Report have been added to Moodle
SEMINAR READING

ASSESSING THE ROLE OF THE ASYLUM

Read at least two of the following articles in preparation for the seminar.

** Laurence J. Ray, ‘Models of Madness in Victorian Asylum Practice’, European Journal of Sociology, 22 (1981), 229-64. ​e-journal (this is very long but a very useful framing piece)

** David Wright, ‘Getting out of the Asylum: Understanding the Confinement of the Insane in the Nineteenth Century’, Social History of Medicine, 10 (1997), 137-55. e-journal

** Andew Scull, ‘Museums of Madness Revisited’, Social History of Medicine, 6 (1993), 3-23. e-journal

** Andrew Scull, ‘Rethinking the History of Asylumdom’, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 295-315. e-book

** John K. Walton, ‘Lunacy in the Industrial Revolution: A Study of Asylum Admissions in Lancashire 1848-50’, Journal of Social History, 13 (1979), 1-22. e-journal

** Leslie Topp, 'Single Rooms, Seclusion and the Non-Restraint Movement in British Asylums, 1838-1844', Social History of Medicine, 31 (2018), 754-73. e-journal

** Louise Hide, Gender and Class in English Asylums, 1890-1914 (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), ch. 4 'The Asylum Regime'. e-book

Ticehurst Asylum Drawing Room
 

FURTHER READING

 ** Roy Porter, ‘Madness and its Institutions’, in Andrew Wear (ed.), Medicine in Society (Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 277-301. (The footnotes to this essay function as a bibliographical guide to many aspects of the history of madness.) e-book

** Andrew Scull, The Insanity of Place/The Place of Insanity: Essays on the History of Psychiatry (London and New York: Routledge, 2006). e-book 

* David Wright, ‘The Certification of Insanity in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales’, History of Psychiatry, 9 (1998), 267-90. e-journal

* Andrew Scull, Madness in Civilization (London: Thames & Hudson, 2015), esp ch. 7. e-book and multiple copies in library

* L.D. Smith, ‘Close Confinement in a Mighty Prison: Thomas Bakewell and his Campaign against Public Asylums, 1810-1830’, History of Psychiatry, 5 (1994), 191-214. e-journal

* Roy Porter, ‘Madness and Society in England: The Historiography Reconsidered’, Studies in History, 3 (1987), 275-90. e-journal

* James Moran, Leslie Topp and Jonathan Andrews (eds), Madness, Architecture and the Built Environment: Psychiatric Spaces in Historical Context (London and New York: Routledge, 2006).

19th-CENTURY ASYLUMS
 
** Joseph Melling and Bill Forsythe (eds), Insanity, Institutions and Society, 1800-1914 (London and New York: Routledge, 1999). (Most chapters are relevant to the history of asylum treatment.) e-book
 
** Joseph Melling and Bill Forsythe (eds), The Politics of Madness: The State, Insanity and Society in England, 1845-1914 (London and New York: Routledge, 2006). e-book
 
** Andrew Scull, The Most Solitary of Afflictions: Madness and Society in Britain, 1700-1900 (Yale University Press, 1993). Multiple copies in library
 
* Andrew Scull, Museums of Madness: The Social Organization of Insanity in 19th Century England (London: Allen Lane, 1979).
Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum, Middlesex
** Robert Ellis, London and its Asylums, 1888-1914: Politics and Madness (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). e-book

** Leonard D. Smith, ‘Cure, Comfort and Safe Custody’: Public Lunatic Asylums in Early Nineteenth-Century England (Leicester University Press, 1999). e-book

** Louise Hide, Gender and Class in English Asylums, 1890-1914 (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). e-book

George Rosen, Madness in Society: Chapters in the Historical Sociology of Mental Illness (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1968).

Kathleen Jones, Asylums and After: A Revised History of the Mental Health Services: From the Early 18th Century to the 1990s (London: Athlone, 1993).
 
Kathleen Jones, Lunacy, Law and Conscience, 1744-1845 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1955).
 
Kathleen Jones, A History of the Mental Health Services (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1972).
 
* Klaus Dörner, Madmen and the Bourgeoisie: A Social History of Insanity and Psychiatry (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1981).
 
* Andrew Scull, Charlotte MacKenzie and Nicholas Hervey, Masters of Bedlam: The Transformation of the Mad-Doctoring Trade (Princeton University Press, 1996). Multiple copies in library and e-book (excellent survey of individual early psychiatrists)
 
John Conolly, The Construction and Government of Lunatic Asylums and Hospitals for the Insane (1847) (reprinted with introduction by Richard Hunter and Ida Macalpine, London: Dawsons, 1968). e-book
 
Patricia Allderidge, ‘Hospitals, Madhouses and Asylums: Cycles in the Care of the Insane’, British Journal of Psychiatry, cxxxiv (1979), 321-34. e-journal
 
Anne Digby, ‘Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives on the Asylum’, in Roy Porter and Andrew Wear (eds), Problems and Methods in the History of Medicine (London: Croom Helm, 1987), pp. 153-74.
CERTIFICATION, ADMISSION AND CONFINEMENT
 
** David Wright, ‘The Certification of Insanity in Nineteenth-Century England and Wales’, History of Psychiatry, 9 (1998), 267-90. e-journal
 
** Richard Adair, Bill Forsythe and Joseph Melling, ‘A Danger to the Public? Disposing of Pauper Lunatics in Late-Victorian and Edwardian England: Plympton St Mary Union and the Devon County Asylum, 1867-1914’, Medical History, 42 (1998), 1-25. e-journal
 
* Joseph Melling, Bill Forsythe and Richard Adair, ‘Families, Communities and the Legal Regulation of Lunacy in Victorian England: Assessments of Crime, Violence and Welfare in Admissions to the Devon Asylum, 1845-1914’, in Outside the Walls of the Asylum, pp. 153-80. e-book and multiple copies in library
Charles Meryon before his removal to the asylum at Charenton
 
* Phil Fennell, Treatment without Consent: Law, Psychiatry and the Treatment of Mentally Disordered People since 1845 (London and New York: Routledge, 1996).
 
* Joshua John Schwieso, ‘“Religious Fanaticism” and Wrongful Confinement in Victorian England: The Affair of Louisa Nottidge’, Social History of Medicine, 9 (1996), 159-74. e-journal
 
Nicholas Hervey, ‘Advocacy or Folly: The Alleged Lunatics’ Friend Society, 1845-63’, Medical History, 30 (1986), 245-75. e-journal
 
D.J. Mellett, ‘Bureaucracy and Mental Illness: The Commissioners in Lunacy 1845-90’, Medical History, 25 (1981), 221-50. e-journal
 
Roy Porter and David Wright (eds), The Confinement of the Insane: International Perspectives, 1800-1965 (Cambridge University Press, 2003) (Impressive study of different national contexts.) e-book
Thomas Knowles and Serena Trowbridge (eds), Insanity and the Lunatic Asylum in the Nineteenth Century (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2015). e-book
 
* Anne Digby, ‘Changes in the Asylum: The Case of York, 1777-1815’, Economic History Review, 2nd series, 37 (1983), 218-39. e-journal
 
Anne Digby, From York Lunatic Asylum to Bootham Park Hospital (York: Borthwick Papers, No. 69, 1986).
 
Richard Russell, ‘The Lunacy Profession and its Staff in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century, with Special Reference to the West Riding Lunatic Asylum’, Anatomy of Madness III, pp. 297-315.
 
Steven Cherry, Mental Health Care in Modern England: The Norfolk Lunatic Asylum/St Andrews Hospital c.1810-1998 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2003). e-book
 
Richard Hunter and Ida Macalpine, Psychiatry for the Poor, 1851. Colney Hatch Asylum, Friern Hospital 1973: A Medical and Social History (London: Dawsons, 1974).
* Catherine Cox, Negotiating Insanity in the Southeast of Ireland, 1820-1900 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2012). e-book
 
* Jan Goldstein, Console and Classify: The French Psychiatric Profession in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1987). e-book
 
Colin Jones, ‘The Treatment of the Insane in Eighteenth- and Early-Nineteenth-Century Montpellier’, Medical History, 24 (1980), 371-90. e-journal
 
Dora B. Weiner, ‘The Brothers of Charity and the Mentally Ill in Pre-Revolutionary France’, Social History of Medicine, 2 (1989), 321-37. e-journal
 
Ian Dowbiggin, Inheriting Madness: Professionalization and Psychiatric Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century France (University of California Press, 1991). e-book
 

Ian Dowbiggin, Inheriting Madness: Professionalization and Psychiatric Knowledge in Nineteenth-Century France (University of California Press, 1991). e-book

 

Peter McCandless, ‘”A House of Cure”: The Antebellum South Carolina Lunatic Asylum’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 64 (1990), 220-42. e-journal

 

Peter McCandless, Moonlight, Magnolias and Madness: Insanity in Southern Carolina from the Colonial Period to the Progressive Era (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).

 

James E. Moran, ‘Asylum in the Community: Managing the Insane in Antebellum America’, History of Psychiatry, 9 (1998), 217-40. e-journal

 

James E. Moran, Committed to the State Asylum: Insanity and Society in Nineteenth-Century Quebec and Ontario (McGill University Press, 2000). e-book

 

Gerald N. Grob, Mental Institutions and American Society: 1875-1940 (Princeton University Press, 1983). e-book
 
Gerald N. Grob, The Mad Among Us: A History of the Care of America’s Mentally Ill (Harvard University Press, 1994).
 
Nancy Tomes, A Generous Confidence: Thomas Story Kirkbride and the Art of Asylum-Keeping, 1840-1883 (Cambridge University Press, 1984).
 
Nancy Tomes, ‘The Great Restraint Controversy: A Comparative Perspective on Anglo-American Psychiatry in the Nineteenth Century’, Anatomy of Madness III, pp. 190-225.
 
Norman Dain, Concepts of Insanity in the United States, 1789-1865 (Rutgers University Press, 1964).

Constance M. McGovern, ‘The Myths of Social Control and Custodial Oppression: Patterns of Psychiatric Medicine in Late-Nineteenth-Century Institutions’, Journal of Social History, 20 (1986), 3-23. e-journal
 
M.S. Himelhoch and A.H. Shaffer, ‘Elizabeth Packard: Nineteenth Century Crusader for the Rights of Mental Patients’, Journal of American Studies, 13 (1979). e-journal
 
Ian Dowbiggen, Keeping America Sane: Psychiatry and Eugenics in the United States and Canada (Cornell University Press, 1997). e-book
 
S.E.D. Shortt, Victorian Lunacy: Richard B. Bucke and the Practice of Late-Nineteenth-Century Psychiatry (Cambridge University Press, 1986).
Susan Piddock, A Space of their Own: The Archaeology of Nineteenth Century Lunatic Asylums in Britain, South Australia, and Tasmania (New York: Springer, 2007). e-book
Ticehurst Hospital ground plan (1827)
 
ASYLUMS OF THE RICH
 
* Charlotte Mackenzie, ‘Social Factors in the Admission, Discharge, and Continuing Stay of Patients at Ticehurst Asylum, 1845- 1917’, Anatomy of Madness II, pp. 147-74.
 
* Charlotte Mackenzie, Psychiatry for the Rich: A History of Ticehurst Private Asylum, 1792-1917 (London and New York: Routledge, 1992), ch. 4 ‘Madness and the Victorian Family’, pp. 97-127. e-book
 
Charlotte Mackenzie, ‘Psychiatry for the Rich: A History of the Private Madhouse at Ticehurst in Sussex, 1792-1917’, Psychological Medicine, 18 (1988), 545-9. e-journal
 
Trevor Turner, ‘Rich and Mad in Victorian England’, Psychological Medicine, 19 (1989), 29-44. e-journal
 
THE COUNTY ASYLUM AND THE POOR LAW
 
There is excellent literature on the relationship between the Poor Law and asylums, the fate of pauper lunatics, and the pressures of institutions, economies, doctors and families:
 
** Peter Bartlett, ‘The Asylum and the Poor Law: The Productive Alliance’, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 48-67. e-book
 
** Richard Adair, Bill Forsythe and Joseph Melling, ‘A Danger to the Public? Disposing of Pauper Lunatics in Late-Victorian and Edwardian England: Plympton St Mary Union and the Devon County Asylum, 1867-1914’, Medical History, 42 (1998), 1-25. e-journal
 
** Peter Bartlett, The Poor Law of Lunacy: The Administration of Pauper Lunatics in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England (Leicester University Press, 1999). e-book
* John Walton, ‘The Treatment of Pauper Lunatics in Victorian England: The Case of Lancaster Asylum, 1816-70’, in Madhouses, Mad-Doctors, and Madmen, pp. 166-97. e-book
 
* David Wright, ‘The Discharge of Pauper Lunatics from County Asylums in Mid-Victorian England: The Case of Buckinghamshire, 1853- 1872’, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 93-112. e-book
 
* Bill Forsythe, Joseph Melling and Richard Adair, ‘The New Poor Law and the County Pauper Lunatic Asylum – The Devon Experience 1834- 1884’, Social History of Medicine, 9 (1996), 335-55. e-journal
 
* Joseph Melling and Robert Turner, ‘The Road to the Asylum: Institutions, Distance and the Administration of Pauper Lunacy in Devon, 1845- 1914’, Journal of Historical Geography, 25 (1999), 298-32. e-journal
* Catherine Cox and Hilary Marland, '"A Burden on the County": Madness, Institutions of Confinement and the Irish Patient in Victorian Lancashire', Social History of Medicine, 28 (2015), 263-87. e-journal
 
Patients in the garden of an asylum, engraving by K. H. Merz (c.1834)
* Bill Forsythe, Joseph Melling and Richard Adair, ‘Politics of Lunacy: Central State Regulation and the Devon Pauper Lunatic Asylum, 1845-1914’, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 68-92. e-book
John K. Walton, ‘Lunacy in the Industrial Revolution: A Study of Asylum Admissions in Lancashire 1848-50’, Journal of Social History, 13 (1979), 1-22. e-journal
 
Robert Ellis, ‘The Asylum, the Poor Law, and a Reassessment of the Four-Shilling Grant: Admissions to the County Asylums of Yorkshire in the Nineteenth Century’, Social History of Medicine, 19 (2006), 55-71. e-journal
Robert Ellis, '"A Constant Irritation to the Townspeople": Local, Regional and National Politics and London's County Asylums at Epsom', Social History of Medicine, 26 (2013), 653-71. e-journal
 
Leonard D. Smith, ‘The County Asylum in the Mixed Economy of Care’, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 33-47. e-book
 
Vieda Skultans, English Madness: Ideas on Insanity 1580-1890 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979), ch. 7 ‘Pauper Lunacy’, pp. 98-127.
Elaine Murphy, ‘The New Poor Law Guardians and the Administration of Insanity in East London, 1834-1844, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 77 (2003), 45-74. e-journal
 
Elaine Murphy, ‘The Lunacy Commissioners and the East London Guardians, 1845- 1867’, Medical History, 46 (2002), 495-524. e-journal
 
M.W. Flinn, ‘Medical Services under the New Poor Law’, in Derek Fraser (ed.), The New Poor Law in the Nineteenth Century (London: Macmillan, 1976), pp. 45-66 (for general background on Poor Law medical services).
 
SCOTLAND
 
Scottish asylums overlap in many ways with the English institutions, but they were set up under their own lunacy laws and represent a strong commitment to the ideals of ‘moral management’ and also to methods of boarding patients outside the asylum. There is a rich literature on Scottish asylums, some of which is listed here:
Jonathan Andrews, ‘They’re in the Trade… of Lunacy. They “cannot interfere” – they say’: The Scottish Lunacy Commissioners and Lunacy Reform in Nineteenth-Century Scotland (London: The Wellcome Trust Occasional Publications, no. 8, 1998).
 
Lorraine Walsh, ‘“The Property of the Whole Community”. Charity and Insanity in Urban Scotland: The Dundee Royal Lunatic Asylum, 1805- 1850, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 180-99.e-book
 
Rab Houston, ‘Institutional Care for the Insane and Idiots in Scotland before 1820’ (Part 1), History of Psychiatry, 12 (2001), 3-32. e-journal
 
Jonathan Andrews, ‘Raising the Tone of Asylumdom: Maintaining and Expelling Pauper Lunatics at the Glasgow Royal Asylum in the Nineteenth Century’, in Insanity, Institutions and Society, pp. 200-22. e-book
Claybury Asylum Woodford, Essex. A linen roon (1893)
Jonathan Andrews and Iain Smith, ‘The Evolution of Psychiatry in Glasgow during the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries’, in 150 Years of British Psychiatry II, pp. 309-38.
 
Allan Beveridge, ‘Madness in Victorian Edinburgh: A Study of Patients Admitted to the Royal Edinburgh Asylum under Thomas Clouston, 1873- 1908’, Parts 1 and 2, History of Psychiatry, 6 (1995), 21-54, 133-56. e-journal
 
Allan Beveridge, ‘On the Origins of Psychiatric Thought: The Contribution of Edinburgh, 1730-1850’, in 150 Years of British Psychiatry II, pp. 339-66.
 
Allan Beveridge, ‘Life in the Asylum: Patients’ Letters from Morningside, 1873-1908’, History of Psychiatry, 9 (1998), 431-69. e-journal
 
Gayle Davis, ‘The Cruel Madness of Love’: Sex, Syphilis and Psychiatry in Scotland, 1880-1930 (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2008). e-book
 
Jonathan Andrews and Iain Smith (eds), Let There be Light Again: A History of Gartnavel Royal Hospital from its Beginnings to the Present Day (Glasgow: Gartnavel Royal Hospital, 1993).
 
R.A. Houston, ‘Not Simple Boarding’: Care of the Mentally Incapacitated in Scotland during the Long Eighteenth Century’, in Outside the Walls of the Asylum, pp. 19-44. e-book and several copies in library
 
Harriet Sturdy and William Parry-Jones, ‘Boarding-out Insane Patients: The Significance of the Scottish System 1857-1913’, in Outside the Walls of the Asylum, pp. 86-114. e-book and several copies in library
 
ASYLUM NURSING
 
Mick Carpenter, ‘Asylum Nursing Before 1914: A Chapter in the History of Labour’, in Celia Davies (ed.), Rewriting Nursing History (London: Croom Helm, 1980), pp. 123-46.
 
Peter Nolan, A History of Mental Health Nursing (London: Chapman & Hall, 1993).
 
Peter Nolan, ‘Mental Health Nursing in Great Britain’, in 150 Years of British Psychiatry II, pp. 171-92.
 
Robert Dingwall, Anne Marie Rafferty and Charles Webster, An Introduction to the Social History of Nursing (London: Routledge, 1988), ch. 7 ‘Mental Disorder and Mental Handicap’, pp. 123-44. e-book