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dirk   Link to this

History

HOSPITALS, CLINICS AND ASYLUMS -
(c) Dr Carole Reeves

A very complete (and long) text!
Link to the 16th/17th c. part:

http://www.historyworld.net/articles/articles.a...

dirk   Link to this

From the above: Pepys in "Bedlam"...

"In England, the priory of the Order of St Mary of Bethlehem was founded in London in 1247 and used for lunatics from 1377. [...] It remained the only specialised institution for housing the mad until at least the 17th century. Bethlem, or 'Bedlam' as it became popularly known, was controlled by the Crown until 1546 when it was passed (along with St Thomas's and St Bartholomew's Hospitals) to the Corporation of the City of London. [...] By 1632, Bethlem housed 27 inmates which grew to 44 within 10 years. Following its destruction by fire, the hospital was moved, in 1676, from its old site (the present-day Liverpool Street Station) to a palatial building at Moorfields which could accommodate 130-150 inmates.

'Bedlam' became a byword for man's inhumanity to man despite insistence by the hospital authorities that inmates were not beaten, abused or forcibly restrained unless it was necessary to maintain order and control. The hospital also became a world-renowned ‘showcase' for the mad and attracted hundreds of visitors who turned up, paid the required fee, and either gawped at or taunted the inmates to near riot. The diarists, Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) and John Evelyn (1620-1706), were regular visitors."

http://www.historyworld.net/articles/articles.a...

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