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August 31, 2022

Haunting Portraits of Patients at the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum, Yorkshire From the 1860s

The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum at Wakefield, Yorkshire (familiarly known as Wakefield Asylum), was opened in 1818 with accommodation for 150 patients. Samuel Tuke, then superintendent of the York Retreat, acted as a consultant to the West Riding magistrates in the design and construction of the institution. Tuke’s recommendations were published in 1819 as Hints on the Construction and Economy of Pauper Lunatic Asylums.

Wakefield Asylum’s first medical director was Dr William Charles Ellis, who stayed in post until 1831. Over the course of the next couple of decades, the asylum was enlarged in somewhat piecemeal fashion in order to accommodate its ever-growing number of patients.

By the mid-1860s numbers had exceeded one thousand. Wakefield’s best-known superintendent was the eminent Victorian psychiatrist James Crichton-Browne, who held the post from 1866 to 1875. The name of the hospital was changed upon the advent of the National Health Service in 1948 to the Stanley Royd Hospital.

The eventual closure of the hospital in 1995 was simply part of the late twentieth-century narrative of the deinstitutionalization of mental healthcare.

(Photos via Europeana, and Flashbak)

1 comment:

  1. These are the terrifying images at the West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum refugee camp, Yorkshine. It will not be scary when the author gives evidence of the images of the victims, the mentally ill, miserable people here.




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