5 Annotations

language hat   Link to this

Bedlam
The name of both the Bethlehem Hospital and the surrounding area; the hospital was just north of modern Liverpool St., and by Pepys' day it had been a hospital for the insane for centuries. ("Down to the late 18th century it was common for the public to visit it to gape at the inmates.") The buildings were so decayed by the 1660s that they were demolished and a new hospital built in 1675-76 just north of London Wall (between modern Blomfield St. and Finsbury Pavement).

(Adapted from the Companion.)

Pedro   Link to this

Rake's famous engraving of Bedlam

http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/exhibits/quest/i...

A little about the hospital

http://bms.brown.edu/HistoryofPsychiatry/bedlam...

GrahamT   Link to this

The official blue plaque marking the site of the old Bethlem hospital is on the Liverpool street side of Great Eastern Hotel, to the south of Liverpool Street Station, here: http://uk.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?lat=51.51...
The later hospital rebuilt after the great fire formed the southern edge of Moorfields, now Finsbury Circus, seen quite clearly here:
http://www.motco.com/map/81002/SeriesSearchPlat...

Terry Foreman   Link to this

A new docudrama will tell the history of Bethlem Hospital ('Bedlam'), which has been central to changing perceptions of mental illness....It will feature colourful characters such as Margaret Nicholson, the mild-mannered would-be assassin of George III who spent 48 years in Bethlem, and James Carkesse, a writer and poet who savagely lampooned the bizarre treatments he was forced to endure – to the extent that his physician refused to sign his release papers until he recanted. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/2007/News/WTX037...

Casting was called for August 2009. http://www.talentcircle.org/bedlam-documentary-...

Bill   Link to this

Bethlehem Royal Hospital (vulg. Bedlam), Lambeth Road, St. George's Fields, a hospital for insane people, founded in Bishopsgate Without, and for a different purpose, in 1246, by Simon Fitz-Mary, one of the Sheriffs of London. "He founded it to have been a priory of canons with brethren and sisters." The site of the original hospital was that known long after its removal as Old Bethlemcn, subsequently as Liverpool Street.

By the beginning of the 17th century Bethlehem Hospital had become one of the London sights, and it so continued till the last quarter of the 18th century. In Webster's Westward Ho! (1607), some of the characters, to pass the time while their horses are being saddled at "the Dolphin, Without Bishopsgate," resolve to "cross over" the road "to Bedlam, to see what Greeks are within," and a highly comic scene ensues. One of the party happening to turn his back the rest persuade the keeper that their friend is a lunatic, that his "pericranium is perished."
---London, Past and Present. H.B. Wheatley, 1891.

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