Mental Health Care in Modern England: The Norfolk Lunatic Asylum/St. Andrew's Hospital C. 1810-1998

By Steven Cherry | Go to book overview
Save to active project

2

Norfolk Lunatic Asylum: plans, problems and patients, 1814—43

Although the 1808 Act encouraged county justices to establish lunatic asylums, it provided few specific instructions and there was no compulsion to build until additional legislation was passed in 1845. 1 A complex of national and local influences, outlined in the previous chapter, may have featured when the Norfolk Quarter Sessions first discussed this possibility in October 1808 but the dominant contributions were not recorded. 2 This chapter examines the establishment of the Norfolk Lunatic Asylum and its physical features, its medical and lay personnel, the patients and treatments, focusing upon local records but drawing upon contemporary surveys and accounts. It suggests that considerable efforts were made to ensure that the relatively novel institution incorporated good practices as they were then understood. The grim beginnings of the NLA, particularly as experienced by its patients, were not wholly intentional and there were signs of improvement over time, although there was much to be desired when reform standards of the early 1840s were applied by the inspecting Commissioners in Lunacy.

With an eye to wider contexts, two issues emerge. The Norfolk justices, in building at an early date and to plans which involved considerable cost more than they intended responded to the reforming intent of permissive legislation. Yet they were not wholly compliant, which may indicate local motives and a desire for autonomy. Research findings on other asylums suggest that, 'as states sought to exert greater control over the classification and treatment of lunatics by the elaboration of administrative regulations and statistical information, local agents and professional bodies asserted their own capacity to identify and manage the insane'. 3 In Norfolk, the committee of visiting justices was involved in close supervision of the asylum, rather than relying upon indirect control, and they evidently resisted its medical superintendence, although medical influences began to feature more prominently in the 1840s. Moreover, the asylum's management suggests awareness

____________________
1
8 and 9 Vict. An Act to amend the Laws for the Provision and Regulation of Lunatic Asylums for Counties and Boroughs, and for the Maintenance and Care of Pauper Lunatics, in England. (1845) c.126.
2
Norfolk Quarter Sessions minutes (NQS) 1805—1811, c/s/1/17; 11 Oct. 1808.
3
B. Forsythe, J. Melling and R. Adair, 'Politics of lunacy. Central state regulation and the Devon Pauper Lunatic Asylum 1845—1914', in J. Melling and B. Forsythe (eds), Insanity, Institutions and Society 1800—1914, Routledge, London, 1999, pp. 68—92.

-27-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Mental Health Care in Modern England: The Norfolk Lunatic Asylum/St. Andrew's Hospital C. 1810-1998
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 335

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?