Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A field of practise or a mere house of detention? : the asylum and its integration, with special reference to the county asylums of Yorkshire, c.1844-1888

By Robert Ellis


The nineteenth century witnessed a continuous growth in both the number of lunatic\ud asylums, and in the numbers of people held within them. For many, contemporaries,\ud and more recent commentators alike, the period was marked by the growing failure of\ud the asylum as a curative institution. The reasons cited for this failure have varied, and\ud at different times attention has focussed on a number of key themes. The purpose of\ud this thesis is to critically examine each of these themes and to assess the expectations\ud of those who built the asylum, those who worked in it, those who lived near it, and\ud perhaps most importantly of all, those who used it. As such, the six chapters examine\ud the asylum management and their motivations; the social separation of the insane\ud patient, and how this was affected by external factors; the asylum's relationship with\ud the various Poor Law authorities; the motivations that the families of the insane had\ud for committing, and not committing their kin; the treatment regimes within the\ud asylums, and how they differed between the sexes; and the central role that the\ud asylum attendants had in caring for the insane.\ud \ud \ud In each of these areas, perceptions of the asylums' supposed failure will be called into\ud question, and there will be a continuing consideration of its function as both a\ud custodial and a curative institution. Recent studies of extra-institutional care have\ud emphasised that treatment in the asylum remained just one option in the `mixed\ud economy of care'. Building on this, this thesis contests that the continued growth and\ud development of the asylum system could not rest on its custodial function alone.\ud Conversely, it shows that its ability to `cure' significant numbers of people continued\ud to be a significant factor throughout the period

Topics: HN, DA
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. A Chaplain's Address, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
  2. A Contribution to the Statistics of General Paralysis: With Remarks',
  3. A Danger to the Public? Disposing of Pauper Lunatics in late-Victorian and Edwardian England: Plympton St Mary Union and the Devon County Asylum',
  4. (1993). A History of Mental Health Nursing,
  5. (1972). A History of the Mental Health Services, Routledge and Kegan Paul,
  6. A Letter to the Ratepayers of
  7. (1999). A Man's Place: Masculinity and the Middle Class Home in Victorian England,
  8. (1871). A Plea for Convalescent Homes in Connection with Asylums for the Insane Poor',
  9. (1885). A Private Lunatic Asylum Exposed,
  10. (1845). A Proper Lunatic for Two Years": Pauper Lunatic Children in Victorian and Edwardian England. Child Admissions to the Devon County Asylum,
  11. (1999). A Quarter Century of the History of Psychiatry',
  12. (1985). A Slavish Bowing Down: The Lunacy Commission and the Psychiatric Profession 1845 - 60', in
  13. (1978). A Social History of Housing 1815 -1870, David and Charles,
  14. (1861). A Voice from the Wilderness: Being a Plea for a Lunatic Asylum for the Middle Classes, on Self-supporting Principles,
  15. (1988). A Zeal for Responsibility: The Struggle for Professional Nursing in Victorian England,
  16. (1970). Abel-Smith, A History of the Nursing Profession,
  17. (1999). Accommodating Madness: New Research in the Social History of Insanity and Institutions.
  18. Acute Dementia',
  19. Admission Forms 1861,
  20. Admission Forms 1862,
  21. (1985). Alienist: John Conolly, FRCP, DCL (1794 - 1866),
  22. (1872). An Address on Medical Psychology',
  23. (1861). An Inquiry into a Frequent Cause of Insanity in
  24. and manner of 1888.
  25. (1887). Annual Reports 1885-94, Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy,
  26. Annual Reports of the Local Government Board 1871-1889.
  27. Appendix 11: The Employment of the Female Patients at the WRA,
  28. (1914). Approaches to the History of the Western Family 1500 -
  29. Archive Service (ERAS) East Riding Asylum
  30. Archive Service, Wakefield (WYAS) Correspondence re: Mount Pleasant 1868-9,
  31. (1975). Aristocratic Enterprise: The Fitzwilliam Undertakings
  32. Articlas made and repaired by the Female Patients during the year 1888. AE. TICLES MADE. REYAXu. Upholsterers' do .........: ( K i i D i 11 10 10 10 n tt ng, arn ng, &c..... f Picking hair or other occupation ...........................
  33. (1993). Asylum for Idiots, Earlswood, 1847 - 1886', Unpublished PhD Thesis,
  34. (1985). Asylums, Families and the State',
  35. (1986). Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental patients and Other Inmates,
  36. (1999). At Home with Puerperal Mania: The Domestic Treatment of the Insanity of Childbirth in the Nineteenth Century',
  37. (1885). Back to the Future: Valentin Magnan, French Psychiatry and the Classification of Mental Diseases
  38. (1985). Bedlam: Fact or Fantasy? '
  39. (1800). Behind Closed Doors',
  40. (1913). Boarding out Insane Patients: The Significance of the Scottish System 1857 -
  41. (1988). Brumberg, Fasting Girls: The Emergence ofAnorexia Nervosa as a Modern Disease,
  42. (1867). C85/124, Medical Director's Journal,
  43. (1877). Case Book
  44. Cases on the Borderland of Insanity',
  45. (1985). Casting Out and Bringing Back in Victorian England: Pauper Lunatics 1840-70', in
  46. Changes in the Asylum: The Case of York,
  47. (1998). Charcot's Comments on the Therapeutic Role of Isolation in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa',
  48. (1992). Civilisation: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason,
  49. (1983). Class Expression versus Social Control? A Critique of Recent Trends in the Social History of Leisure',
  50. CLF1t2/2, NRA Annual Reports 1865-76, Report of the Superintendent for 1872. '26 WYAS,
  51. (1992). Closing the Asylum: The Mental Patient in
  52. Collection (JGC) Accounts for the Treasurer and Reports of the Finance and Other Committees for the West Riding of Yorkshire,
  53. (2000). Community Care and its Antecedents', in Peter Bartlett & David Wright (eds),
  54. (1990). Companion to the Industrial Revolution, Facts On File Ltd,
  55. (1866). Correspondence re: Wadsley Asylum
  56. Correspondence re: Wadsley Asylum 1870, QD4/70. Papers re: The Lime Tree House Private Asylum,
  57. (1866). Counties Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles, First Annual Report,
  58. Cranial Injuries and Mental Diseases',
  59. (1996). Crime and Punishment in England,
  60. (1987). Crime and Society in England 1750-1900,
  61. (1998). Cultural Geography,
  62. Dangerous to Themselves and Others: The Victorian Debate Over the Prevention of Wrongful Confinement',
  63. (1985). Darwin and the Face of Madness',
  64. David Laseron: A Clergyman in the Rookwood Asylum',
  65. (1994). Death and the Elderly: Historical Perspectives,
  66. (1999). Destined to a Perfect Recover: The Confinement of Puerperal Insanity in the Nineteenth Century',
  67. (1981). dfad-doctors and Madmen: The Social History of Psychiatry in the Victorian Era,
  68. (1995). Disease Medicine and Society
  69. Do the Public Asylums of England, as at Present Constructed, Afford the Greatest Facilities for the Care and Treatment of the Insane? '
  70. (1993). Doctor and Ethics: The Earlier Historical Setting of Professional Ethics,
  71. (1993). Does a Certificate of Lunacy Affect a Patient's Ethical Status? Psychiatric Paternalism and its Critics in Victorian England',
  72. Economic Antecedents of Mental Hospitalization: A Nineteenth Century Time-Series Test',
  73. Elevations, Section, and Descriptions of the Pauper Lunatic Asylum lately Erected at Wakefield for the West Riding of
  74. (1999). Enclosing and Disclosing Lunatics Within the Family Walls: Domestic Psychiatric Regime and the Public Sphere in Early Nineteenth Century England',
  75. (1971). England's First State Hospitals 1867-1930, Wellcome Institute of the History of Medicine,
  76. English Asylums and English Doctors: Where Scull is Wrong',
  77. (1963). English Poor Law Policy, Frank Cass
  78. (1972). Essays in the use of Quantitative Methods for the Study of Social Data,
  79. (1998). Familial Care of Idiot Children in Victorian England',
  80. (1850). Familiar Views of Lunacy and Lunatic Life,
  81. (1914). Families, Communities and the Legal Regulation of Lunacy in Victorian England: Assessments of Crime, Violence and Welfare in Admissions to the Devon Asylum,
  82. (1993). Family Care and Hospital Care: the `Sick Poor' in NineteenthCentury Glasgow',
  83. (1993). Family Ties: English Families 1540-1920,
  84. (1999). Family, Community and the Lunatic in midNineteenth Century North Wales',
  85. (1878). Fastened Fellow: A Man's Adventure,
  86. (1914). Finance and the Urban Poor Law: Sunderland Union, 1836 -
  87. Fit Localities for an Asylum": The Historical Geography of the Nineteenth Century "Mad-business" in England as Viewed Through the Pages of the Asylum Journal',
  88. (1987). Forg'd Manacles: A History of Madness in England from the Restoration to the Regency,
  89. (1871). Fractured Ribs in Insane Patients,
  90. (1999). Framing Psychiatric Subjectivity: Doctor, Patient and Record-keeping at Bethlem in the Nineteenth Century',
  91. (1994). From Fasting Saints to Anorexic Girls,
  92. Frustrated Executives: A Lost Opportunity of the English Magistracy',
  93. (1995). Gender and Family in Victorian
  94. Gender, Class and Madness in Nineteenth Century France',
  95. Getting Out of the Asylum: Understanding the Confinement of the Insane in the Nineteenth Century',
  96. (1997). Guardians of the Pariahs? Asylum Attendants
  97. Handbook for the Instruction of Attendants on the Insane, Cupples, Upham and Co.,
  98. Heart Disease and Insanity',
  99. (1902). Henry Hawkins, Dim with the Mist of Years: A Chaplain's Retrospect 1854-1900, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
  100. (1992). History of Syphilis,
  101. (1991). Hospital and Asylum Architecture in England 1840-1914,
  102. (1987). Hospital History: New Sources and Methods',
  103. (1891). Hospitals and Asylums of the World.
  104. Hysteria and its Historiography: The Future Perspective,
  105. (1997). Hystories: Historical Epidemics and Modern Culture,
  106. (1986). Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-siecle Culture,
  107. (1991). Introduction: Class, Community and the Process of Urbanisation',
  108. (1990). Judicial Punishment in England,
  109. (1988). Keywords, a Vocabulary of Culture and Society,
  110. (1869). Library (HPL) Cutting From `The Echo'
  111. Life in a Lunatic Asylum,
  112. (1867). Life in a Lunatic Asylum: An Autobiographical Sketch, n. p.,
  113. (1992). Limited Livelihoods: Gender and Class in Nineteenth-Century
  114. (1850). Lunacy in Lancashire: A Case Study of Prestwich Hospital
  115. (1996). Lunacy in the Industrial Revolution: A Study of Asylum Admissions in Lancashire, 1848-50',
  116. (1870). Lunacy: Its Past and Its Present,
  117. (2000). Lunatic and Criminal Alliances in Nineteenth Century Ireland,
  118. Lunatics and Idiots: Mental Disability, the Community, and the Poor Law in North-East England 1600-1800',
  119. (1989). Madness and Society in England: The Historiography Reconsidered',
  120. (1980). Madness in Society: Chapters in the Historical Sociology of Mental Illness,
  121. (1976). Magistrates: English Psychiatry's Struggle for Professional Autonomy in the Nineteenth Century',
  122. (1995). Mapping Mad Identities',
  123. (1995). Mapping the Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation,
  124. (1996). Masters of Bedlam: the Transformation of the Mad-doctoring Trade,
  125. (1996). Medical Practitioners 1750 - 1850 and Medical Reform in Britain',
  126. (1976). Medical Services Under the New Poor Law'
  127. (1987). Medicine and Society in Wakefield and Huddersfield
  128. (1986). Men on the Land and Men in the Countryside: Employment in Agriculture in Early-Nineteenth-Century England' in Lloyd Bonfield, Richard Smith, and Keith Wrightson (eds), The World We Have Gained: Histories of Population and Social Structure,
  129. Menstrual Irregularities and Insanity',
  130. (1983). Mental Health and Social Order,
  131. (1985). Mid-Victorian Britain 1851-75,
  132. Models of Madness in Victorian Asylum Practice',
  133. Moral Treatment at the Retreat 1796 - 1846',
  134. (1981). Moral Treatment Reconsidered: Some Sociological Comments in an episode in the History of British Psychiatry',
  135. (1874). Mork in the Wards, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
  136. (1874). Morning and Evening Prayers for the Patients, and for the Attendants at Cornwall County Asylum, Liddell & Son,
  137. Objections of the Helmsley and Stokesley Unions to the Proposed New Asylum,
  138. Objections of the Northallerton Union to the Proposed New Asylum,
  139. Objections of the Whitby Union to the Proposed New Asylum,
  140. Objections to the Cottage System of Treatment for Lunatics as it now Exists and Suggestions for its Improvement and Elaboration',
  141. Observations on a Peculiar Condition of the Bones of Two Insane Patients who had Fractured Ribs',
  142. Observations on the Management of Madhouses,
  143. Office (PRO) MH 12/15087 MH 12/14999 Wakefield Public Library (WPL) Wakefield Industrial and Fine Art Institution Exhibition Programme, April 1868, Box 23. Newspaper Cutting Books.
  144. (1844). Official Sources Report of the Commissioners in Lunacy to the Lord Chancellor, Bradbury and Evans,
  145. (1872). On Causes of Insanity and the Means of Checking its Growth',
  146. On Electro-excitability in Mental and Nervous Diseases',
  147. (1877). On Some Common Misapprehensions as to the Curability of Admissions to County Asylums',
  148. On the Artificial Feeding of the Insane',
  149. On the feeding of the insane',
  150. On the Obscurer Neuroses of Syphillis',
  151. (1876). On the Question of Getting, Training and Retaining the Services of Good Asylum Attendants',
  152. On the Treatment of Insanity by the Hypodermic Injection of Morphia',
  153. Opthalmoscopic Observations in Acute Demetia',
  154. (1989). Order/Mental Disorder: Anglo-American Psychiatry in Historical Perspective,
  155. (1995). Organised Charity and the Poor Law in Victorian
  156. (1872). Our Over-Crowded Lunatic Asylums',
  157. (1999). Outside the Walls of the Asylum. The History of Care
  158. Pationtsemployed inLaundry andWish-house 45 4G 49 48 Passages and Kitchens.........
  159. (1990). People and Their Environment,
  160. (1985). Policing Victorian London,
  161. (1914). Politics Without Democracy 1815 -
  162. Poor Law Accounts,
  163. (1750). Population and Society
  164. (1991). Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians,
  165. (1991). Poverty and the Workhouse in Victorian Britain,
  166. Psychiatrists and Historical "Facts" Part One: The Historiography of Somatic Treatments',
  167. Psychiatrists and Historical "Facts" Part Two: Re-writing the History of Asylumdom',
  168. (1992). Psychiatry for the Rich: A History of Ticehurst Private Asylum,
  169. (1996). Public Health, Preventative Medicine and Professionalization: England and America in the Nineteenth Century', in Andrew Wear, Medicine in Society,
  170. (1991). Public Space and Local Communities: The Example of Birmingham, 1840 - 1880',
  171. Puerperal Mania',
  172. (1987). Qualitative Perspectives on the Asylum', in Roy Porter and Andrew Wear (eds),
  173. Rates and Representation',
  174. (1991). Reading the Riot Act: The Magistracy, the Police and the Army in Civil Disorder,
  175. (1994). Recent Research on the History of the Family',
  176. (1933). Refused Charge 1859 -
  177. Remarks on the Care and Treatment of the Chronic Insane Poor,
  178. (1800). Rethinking the History of Asylumdom',
  179. (1996). Riicrohistories: Demography, Society and Culture in Rural England 1800-1930,
  180. (1972). Sampling in Historical Research',
  181. (2000). Samuel Smiles and the Woman Question in Early Victorian Britain',
  182. Sections and Description of the Pauper Lunatic Asylum Lately erected at Wakefield for the T {'est Riding of } orkshire,
  183. (1861). Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, Speech of the Earl of Shaftesbury, at the Freemason's Hall, April 19,1861,
  184. (1991). Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood,
  185. (1989). Sexual Visions:
  186. Sick or too feeble ................................. G3 56 51 62 Aged and infirm ................................. 3G 33 42 43 Too low-spirited ....................................
  187. (1983). Social Control and the State: Historical and Comparative Essays,
  188. (1983). Social Control: The Uses and Abuses of the Concept of Social Control in the History of Incarceration',
  189. (1917). Social Factors in the Admission, Discharge, and Continuing Stay of Patients at Ticehurst Asylum, 1845 -
  190. Somatic Treatments, Ignorance and the Historiography of Psychiatry',
  191. (1972). Sources of Inaccuracy in the 1851 and 1861 Censuses',
  192. (1875). Special Regulations About Dancing', James Afurray's Royal Asylum for Lunatics,
  193. (1975). Stanley Royd Hospital: One Hundred and Fifty Years A History, Berrico Publicity Ltd,
  194. Statement of the Wakefield Union 1886-7,
  195. (1871). Statistics of Pauper Insanity',
  196. (1878). Talk with a New Patient, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
  197. (1868). Ten Years in a Lunatic Asylum, n. p.,
  198. The Alleged Increase of Insanity',
  199. (1988). The Anatomy of Madness: Essays
  200. (1996). The Appeal to Madness in Ireland',
  201. (1999). The Asylum and the Poor Law: The Productive Alliance',
  202. (1883). The Bastilles of England: Or the Lunacy Laws at Work, Crockenden
  203. (1993). The Birth of the Clinic,
  204. (1875). The Borderlands of Insanity and Other Allied Papers, Robert Hardwicke,
  205. (1994). The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud,
  206. (1880). The Care and Cure of the Insane',
  207. The Care and Treatment of the Insane Poor: With Special Reference to the Insane in Private Dwellings',
  208. (1972). The Census, 1801 -1891',
  209. The Change of Life and Insanity',
  210. (1910). The Complete Peerage, St Catherine Press, London, fourteen volumes,
  211. The Convolutions of the Human Brain Considered in Relation to Intelligence',
  212. The Cult of Curability and the Doctrine of Perfectibility: Social Context of the Nineteenth Century American Asylum Movement',
  213. (1999). The Discharge of Pauper Lunatics from County Asylums in MidVictorian Britain: The Case of Buckinghamshire, 1853 -1872',
  214. (1881). The Domestic Treatment of the Insane',
  215. (1991). The Drive Towards Community',
  216. (1994). The Family and Family Relationships,
  217. (1990). The Family in Britain',
  218. (1980). The Female Malady: Women,
  219. (1991). The Founding of Psychiatric Nurse Training and its Aftermath',
  220. (1997). The Gendering of the British Working Class',
  221. The Grange Asylum, Rotherham, 1877-1890, QD1/387. Sessions Papers,
  222. The Great Masturbation Panic and the Discourses of Moral regulation in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth Century Britain',
  223. The History and Topography of the Parish of Wakefield and its Environs, Published by the Author,
  224. (1989). The Imagined Past. History and Nostalgia,
  225. (1901). the Insane: Then and Now, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
  226. (1873). The Local Distribution of Insanity and its Varieties in England and Wales',
  227. (1998). The Locus of Care,
  228. (1985). The Lunacy Profession and its Staff in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century: With Special Reference to the West Riding Lunatic Asylum',
  229. (1993). The Most Solitary ofAfflictions,
  230. The Mysterious Demise of Sarah Gamp: The Domiciliary Nurse and Her Detractors,
  231. The New Poor Law and the County Lunatic Asylum: The Devon Experience 1834 - 1884',
  232. (1887). The Nursing and Care of the Nervous and Insane,
  233. The Origin of Psychiatry: The Alienist as Nanny for Troublesome Adults',
  234. (1967). The Origins of the National Health Service, The Wellcome Trust Medical Library,
  235. (1889). The Past and Present Provision for the Insane Poor in Yorkshire, with Paper on the Future Provision of this Class,
  236. The Pauper Lunatic Problem in the West Midlands, 1815-1850,
  237. (1860). The Philosophy of Insanity by a Late Inmate of the Glasgow Royal Asylum for Lunatics at Gartnavel,
  238. (1914). The Poor and the City, 1834 -
  239. (1985). The Poor and the City; the English Poor Law in its Urban Context, 1834-1914,
  240. (1982). The Poor Law
  241. The Practice of the Court of the General Quarter Sessions of the Peace for the West Riding, Wakefield, 1866. Northallerton County Record Office (NCRO) Papers Relating to the North and East Riding Lunatic Asylum, Undated,
  242. (1982). The Prerogative ofAsylumdom: Social Cultural and Administrative Aspects of the
  243. (1996). The Rise of the Modem Hospital in Britain',
  244. The Sexes in Lunacy',
  245. (1990). The Social Implications of Demographic Change',
  246. (1996). the Social Uses of the Asylum
  247. The Sources and Rules of Life, or How to Prevent Insanity
  248. (1995). The Struggle for the Breeches: Gender and the Making of the British Working Class,
  249. The Surrey County Lunatic Asylum Springfield: Early Years in the Development of a Lunatic Asylum',
  250. (1994). The Welfare of the Elderly in the Past. A Family or Community Responsibility? '
  251. (1991). The West Riding Asylum and James Crichton Browne, 1818-76, in
  252. The West Riding Lunatic Asylum Medical Reports, 2 Vols.
  253. (1983). The Workhouse System 1834-1929,
  254. the Workhouse, and the Voice of the Insane Poor in Nineteenth Century England',
  255. (1986). The World We Have Gained. " Histories of Population and Social Structure,
  256. Thoughts on Insanity and its Causes and on the Management of the Insane,
  257. Total Institutions and Working Classes: A Review Essay',
  258. (1873). Tuke, `The Medico-Psychological Association: The President's Address For 1873',
  259. (1882). Tuke, Chapters
  260. (1991). Tuke's Dictionary and Psychiatry at the Turn of the Century',
  261. (1991). Urbanising Britain:
  262. (1989). Victorian Development and Images of the Past', in Christopher Shaw and Malcolm Chase (eds), The Imagined Past: History and Nostalgia,
  263. (1848). Visions of the People: Industrial England and the Question of Class,
  264. (1972). Wakefield: Its History and Its
  265. (1986). Welfare and the Historians', in
  266. (1991). What Asylums Were, Are and Ought To Be'
  267. (1995). What the Doctor Thought and Did: Sir James Crichton Browne (1840-1938)', Medical History,
  268. (1992). White, Male and Middle Class: Explorations in Feminism and History,
  269. (1902). with the Mist of Years: A Chaplain's Retrospect 1854 - 1900, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,
  270. (1990). Women and Madness: The Incarceration of Women in Nineteenth Century France,
  271. (1996). Women and Madness: Understanding Gender and Mental Disorder,
  272. (1991). Women's Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness? Harvester Wheatsheaf,
  273. (1986). Work, Welfare and the Family: An Illustration of the Adaptive Family Economy' in Lloyd Bonfield, Richard Smith, and Keith Wrightson (eds), The World We Have Gained. Histories of Population and Social Structure,
  274. Working Like Mad: Nineteenth Century Female Lunatic Asylum Attendants and Violence',

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.