Bedlam: London's Hospital for the Mad
Bethlem Hospital is the oldest mental institution in the world, but to many it is famous only as 'Bedlam', a chaotic madhouse which brutalised its patients. Although for much of Bedlam's history such abuse was rare, during the dynastic control of the Munro family - between 1728 and 1855 - a brutal medical programme was implemented, giving Bedlam an unsavoury reputation as one of Europe's most notorious psychiatric hospitals.
Using new and detailed research, historian Dr. Paul Chambers brings together a coherent overview of the hospital's 800-year-old history - from Bethlem's well-intended beginnings in Bishopgate to its final disgrace and reform in Southwark. Focusing on the 'Munro era' - and structured around a fascinating account of the Munro dynasty - Chambers explores key elements of the hospital's history. Revealed are fascinating details of its ambivalent relationship with London and Londoners, the life and times of the hospital's more infamous patients: political dissenters, religious maniacs, murderers and female transvestites and finally the rise of a powerful reform movement which forced the government to take the issue of Bedlam seriously.
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Review: Bedlam: London's Hospital for the MadUser Review - Suzanne - Goodreads
Interesting, but less about the patients' lives and more about the shameful politics that led to the deplorable conditions for which this institution is famous. Read full review
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