Society, Social Policy and Lunacy: the Limits to the Legal Approach, 1890–1939

  • Tom Butler

Abstract

It would be misleading to argue that the emergence of the lunacy laws in the nineteenth century was a response to the problem of social order. The mentally disordered were not enlisted in any form of political campaign and, unlike in France, their emancipation was not just part of a political programme. The magistrates who operated the lunacy laws regarded their tasks not as an expression of social control but as a social duty of the propertied classes to administer the local state. Therefore lunacy was a contemporary problem, but not one of order. In this sense, lunacy policy was not an object of class control but, like the poor laws, the subject of it.

Keywords

Depression Assure Expense Trench Trade Unionism 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    H. Spencer (1884) The Man Versus the State (Penguin, Harmondsworth) 1969 edition, p. 144.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    B. Bosanquet et al. (1895) Aspects of the Social Problem (Macmillan, London).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    C. S. Loch (1882) ‘Some Necessary Reforms in Charitable Work’, Charity Organisation Reporter (3 May) vol. XI, p. 238.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    L. T. Hobhouse (1907) The Career of Fabianism.Google Scholar
  5. B. Webb (1926) My Apprenticeship (Pitman Press, London) pp. 194–5.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Ibid., pp. 134–42.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    The English social explorers included: Henry Mayhew (1816) London Labour and the London Poor;Google Scholar
  8. Andrew Mearns (1883) The Bitter Cry of Outcast London;Google Scholar
  9. Louise Twinning (1892) Outrelief and Charity Notes by a Lady Guardian;Google Scholar
  10. Charles Booth (1889) Labour and Life of the People of London;Google Scholar
  11. B. S. Rowntree (1901) Poverty: a Study of Town Life.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    A. T. Scull (1979) Museums of Madness: The Social Organisation of Insanity in 19th Century England (Allen Lane, London) p. 232.Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    M. Crackanthorpe (1908) ‘Eugenics as a Social Force’, The Nineteenth Century and After, vol. LXIII (June) pp. 962–3.Google Scholar
  14. 21.
    K. Jones (1960) Mental Health and Social Policy 1845–1959 (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London) pp. 56–7.Google Scholar
  15. 24.
    British Medical Association (1911) Some Reasons why the Public should oppose the Insurance Act (30 December).Google Scholar
  16. 28.
    Examples of the mentally disordered soldiers appeared in: Rebecca West (1918) The Return of the Soldier;Google Scholar
  17. Vera Brittain (1933) Testament of Youth: An Autobiographical Study of the Years 1900–25 (Virago edn, 1978) pp. 355–62.Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    P. Abrams (1963) ‘The Failure of Social Reform 1918–1920, Past and Present, no. 24 (April) pp. 43–64.Google Scholar
  19. 34.
    M. Lomax (1921) The Experiences of an Asylum Doctor (George Allen and Unwin, London).Google Scholar
  20. 35.
    Ibid., p. 60. Lomax cited the death rate from TB in the general hospitals and in the asylums, as follows: asylum TB death rate = 16.1 per 1000 in 1915; general hospital TB death rate = 1.6 per 1000 in 1915.Google Scholar
  21. 46.
    Board of Control (1924), Dietaries in Mental Hospitals, Departmental Committee Report (non-Parliamentary Paper) May–March.Google Scholar
  22. 47.
    Board of Control (1924), Nursing in County and County Borough Hospitals (non-Parliamentary Paper).Google Scholar
  23. 67.
    N. Timms (1964) Psychiatric Social Work in Great Britain, 1939–1962 (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London) p. 41.Google Scholar
  24. 68.
    Ibid., p. 43.Google Scholar
  25. 71.
    Ministry of Health (1939), Departmental Committee on Voluntary Mental Health Services (The Feversham Report).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tom Butler 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Butler
    • 1
  1. 1.GloucesterUK

Personalised recommendations