The History of Institutional Care of the Insane in England
The history of mental hospitals in England is, of course, the history of the institutional care of the insane in a much wider sense. But although the concept of ‘institutional care’ itself, not only for the insane but for all of society’s casualties, misfits, deviants and drop-outs, is most closely associated with the developments of the late 18th and 19th centuries, neither concepts nor institutions spring up overnight. So in seeking the roots of this subject, I have had to begin with a period before anything in the nature of a hospital or institution of any kind can be identified, as it were, above ground. And since any concern with the insane has always existed at the intermingled levels of the clinical and the legal, I must also try in this brief outline to keep simultaneous track of these parallel themes. They are in fact inseparable, if one wishes to understand how we have arrived at the present situation whereby an ostensibly therapeutic establishment still has its role also as a place of confinement.
KeywordsMental Hospital Lunatic Asylum Public Subscription Provincial Town Simultaneous Track
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