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
The New Bedlam
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