The History of Bethlem

Front Cover
Routledge, Jun 17, 2013 - History - 768 pages
1 Review
Bethlem Hospital, popularly known as "Bedlam", is a unique institution. Now seven hundred and fifty years old, it has been continuously involved in the care of the mentally ill in London since at least the 1400s. As such it has a strong claim to be the oldest foundation in Europe with an unbroken history of sheltering and treating the mentally disturbed. During this time, Bethlem has transcended locality to become not only a national and international institution, but in many ways, a cultural and literary myth.
The History of Bethlem is a scholarly history of this key establishment by distinguished authors, including Asa Briggs and Roy Porter. Based upon extensive research of the hospital's archives, the book looks at Bethlem's role within the caring institutions of London and Britain, and provides a long overdue re-evaluation of its place in the history of psychiatry.

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Absolutely cracking book as a source for my essay on The Hospital of Bethlem. Now I'm only a first year uni student, so I don't know if it has the detail required for a more in-depth examination of Bethlems history, but for a relatively brief overview (2000 words) it has more than enough for my purposes. 


List of abbreviations
1 Introduction
1900 to the present
Name index
Subject index

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

Jonathan Andrews is Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities, Oxford Brookes University. His publications include "The History of Bethlem "(1997) and ""They're in the Trade of Lunacy" "(1998). Andrew Scull, author of "Social Order/ Mental Disorder "(California, 1989; 1992) and "The Most Solitary of Afflictions "(1993), among other books, is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, San Diego. They are coauthors of "Undertaker of the Mind "(California, 2001), a wide-ranging study of the place of madness in eighteenth-century culture and society, seen through the prism of John Monro's life and career.

Asa Briggs was born in Keighley, England on May 7, 1921. He received a BA in history and a BSc in economics from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1941. During World War II, he worked at Bletchley Park, the Buckinghamshire country house devoted to cracking German wartime codes. He taught at several universities including the London School of Economics; Worcester College, Oxford; Leeds University; the University of Sussex; and Open University. He wrote several non-fiction works including The Age of Improvement, Victorian People, Victorian Cities, Victorian Things, and a five-volume history of British broadcasting. His last two books were the autobiographies entitled Secret Days and Special Relationships. He died on March 15, 2016 at the age of 94.

Roy Sydney Porter was born December 31, 1946. He grew up in a south London working class home. He attended Wilson's Grammar School, Camberwell, and won an unheard of scholarship to Cambridge. His starred double first in history at Cambridge University (1968) led to a junior research fellowship at his college, Christ's, followed by a teaching post at Churchill College, Cambridge. His Ph.D. thesis, published as The Making Of Geology (1977), became the first of more than 100 books that he wrote or edited. Porter was a Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge from 1972 to 1979; Dean from 1977 to 1979; Assistant Lecturer in European History at Cambridge University from 1974 to 1977, Lecturer from 1977 to 1979. He joined the Wellcome Institute fot the History of Medicine in 1979 where he was a Senior Lecturer from 1979 to 1991, a Reader from 1991 to 1993, and finally a Professor in the Social History of Medicine from 1993 to 2001. Porter was Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1994, and he was also made an honorary fellow by both the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Roy Porter died March 4, 2002, at the age of 55.

Dr Penny Tucker now works in Devon as a designer, but continues to research history and to write part-time.