As was discussed in Chapter Three, to answer the questions posed in the research design it is necessary to develop a descriptive framework of what lunatic asylums should be that then can be tested against the reality of the built asylums, and the discrepancies between the two be used to understand life within the asylums. The descriptive framework acts as a launch pad to explore ideas about the asylum, and gives us a starting point in understanding asylums, which in turn can go beyond a simple list of rooms and spaces provided. As was seen in Chapter Four, lunatic asylums were not simply buildings rather they were to provide a curative environment that would return the insane person to sanity and society. This chapter will explore the ideas about what asylums should be as written about by those interested in seeing the new regimes of moral treatment and non-restraint applied. It is important to realise that these ideas did not just appear but developed with the passage of time in response to the fleshing out of the new treatment regimes, and in response the provisions made for the insane in madhouses and county asylums. Consequently in this chapter the ‘ideal’ asylums discussed are presented chronologically with some of the earlier works discussed first before the discussion of John Conolly's ‘ideal’ asylum, which as l mentioned in Chapter Three is the most detailed and useful for understanding lunatic asylums and forms the core descriptive framework in the case studies. The chronology is based on the publication date of various books and pamphlets rather than on the date of the erection of an asylum which may be discussed in the particular text. For example, while The Retreat was built earlier than some of the asylums discussed below, the book on its management and design was not published until 1813 and this then can be seen as the point when the ideas about the use of the built environment at The Retreat in York became more widely available to those constructing lunatic asylums.


Work Area Ground Floor Female Side Single Room Dine Room 


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

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