Private Madhouses in England, 1640–1815

Commercialised Care for the Insane

  • Leonard Smith

Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Leonard Smith
    Pages 1-17
  3. Leonard Smith
    Pages 19-44
  4. Leonard Smith
    Pages 45-87
  5. Leonard Smith
    Pages 89-134
  6. Leonard Smith
    Pages 135-172
  7. Leonard Smith
    Pages 173-206
  8. Leonard Smith
    Pages 207-237
  9. Leonard Smith
    Pages 239-273
  10. Leonard Smith
    Pages 275-281
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 283-323

About this book


This book examines the origins and early development of private mental health-care in England, showing that the current spectacle of commercially-based participation in key elements of service provision is no new phenomenon. In 1815, about seventy per cent of people institutionalised because of insanity were being kept in private ‘madhouses’. The opening four chapters detail the emergence of these madhouses and demonstrate their increasing presence in London and across the country during the long eighteenth century. Subsequent chapters deal with specific aspects in greater depth - the insane patients themselves, their characteristics, and the circumstances surrounding admissions; the madhouse proprietors, their business activities, personal attributes and professional qualifications or lack of them; changing treatment practices and the principles that informed them. Finally, the book explores conditions within the madhouses, which ranged from the relatively enlightened to the seriously defective, and reveals the experiences, concerns and protests of their many critics.  


Commercial Treatment and practice Regulation William Parry-Jones Public lunatic asylums Ray Porter Hospital Residential care London

Authors and affiliations

  • Leonard Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Applied Health ResearchUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2020
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-41639-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-41640-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site