Hanwell Lunatic Asylum
In the Parish of Norwood is the Hanwell Lunatic Asylum, belonging to the
County of London, first erected in 1829-1831, but since repeatedly enlarged and
greatly improved. The building is constructed of brick in a simple Italian
style, and consists of a central block with projecting wings at either end, both
in front and rear are spacious grounds laid out with lawns and avenues of trees.
The different wards are well equipped with books and games and musical
instruments. The asylum will hold about 2,520 inmates. The Chapel, in front of
the main entrance, erected in 1880, is an edifice of brick, in the early English
style, and has a lofty tower with spire containing one bell. There are about
LINK to map of Hanwell Asylum
At Colney Hatch, otherwise New Southgate, is the Lunatic Asylum for the
County of London, a fine structure of brick, with stone decorations, in the
Italian style, from designs by Mr. S. W. Daukes, architect, the first stone of
which was lain by the late Prince Consort on May 8th 1849, and the patients
received July 17th 1851.
The building, erected at a cost of about £400,000 covers upwards of four acres and will hold above 2,000 patients. The principle front, facing northwards, is nearly 2,000 feet in length, and is flanked at either end by a ventilating tower. In the centre is the Chapel, a spacious oblong chamber seating 600 persons. There are also residences for the officers, farm buildings, airing courts, Laundry, gas and water works, workshop, yards and lodges, the whole covering nearly 20 acres, and with kitchen garden, burial ground, and other land belonging to the establishment, and area altogether of about 119 acres, and also has a farm of 160 acres. The cemetery was consecrated by Bishop Blomfield in 1851.
This asylum is for the reception of pauper lunatics only, chargeable to parishes in the County of London, as provided by the "Local Government Act 1888" and required by the "Act 16 & 17 Vict,c.97" and is under the management of a committee of Visitors.
Moorcroft Lunatic Asylum
(Post Office 1846)
This Asylum contains 40 inmates.
(Post Office 1846)
Board also has charge of 1,059 mental patients, 27 of whom are maintqined at
Edmonton and 1,032 in 17 Asylums, at a weekly charge varying from 10s. 6d to
19s. 3d. per patient. The great majority, however, (818 are at Napsbury Asylum,
at a cost of 11s. 1d each.A grant of 4s per week per patient is received from
the county rate.
of the most difficult and expensive of tasks entrusted to the County Council (
Middlesex) is the treatment of lunacy. In 1891, 16 in 10,000 were admitted to
Asylums; in 1907 the figure had increased to 21 per 10,1000. During this time
(1911), the population increased 81.2 per cent.,and admissions to Asylums
increased 144 per cent.
Napsbury, near St Albans.
Opened June 3, 1905. Already practically full. An estate of 432 acres, 100
occupied by buildings and gardens.
The cost, including land and equipment, was £545,000, or £473 per
bed. There is
accomodation for 1,205 persons. Applications increase at the
rate of 142 per annum, and plans have been passed for buildings to
accomodate 582 more patients.
Medical Superintendent. - Dr L. W. Rolleston
Clerk and Steward - H. G. Armour.
2. Wandsworth, SW. An estate of 141 acres , taken over from London; 28 acres are occupied by buildings. The accomodation is for 1,214 patients.
Medical Superintendent. - Dr H. Gardiner Hill.
Clerk. -T.W. Beale, Beechcroft Road, Upper Tooting, SW.
OF THE INSANE.
humanitarian spirit which has been infused in modern times in our penal and poor
law establishments, has also wrought a beneficial change in the treatment of the
insane. There was a time, some three generations ago, when the insane were
badgered from pillar to post, as though they were wild animals. Those who were
confined in asylums were in no better plight; confinement in chains in noisesome
dungeons, with heartless whippings, were part of the general routine of some of
these places of horror.
It was in these unenlightened days that the unfortunayte inmates of some
asylums were exhibited to the idle curious, who paid an admission fee to watch
their terrible frenzied contortions. The reformation of this unnatural
system was commenced in France by M. Phillippe Pinel, a benevolent
physician. In this country a parliamentary enquiry, in 1815, into thwe
barbarities practised in the treatment of the insane led to a slow and steady
improvement. The general management of the asylums has been brought into harmony
with humanity and common sense. Private asylums, which were formerly the scenes
of grave scandals, are now under proper supervision. The various county
institutions are fully equipped for the rational treatment of those mentally
afflicted. Handsome buildings in spacious grounds have been provided, the
inmates living under comfortable conditions, amidst artistic surroundings,
whilst they wre givena sense of freedom as far as is compatible with saftey.
Every opportunity is afforded, by means of healthy outdoor occupations and
skilled attention, for the return to sanity and self control, especially in the
early stages of brain failure. Farm work and gardening are found to be very
useful in many casees, whilst every facility is provided in the way of
recreation both summer and winter. The institutions have come to be regarded
more in the nature of mind hospitals than houses of detention; in fact, in some
counties the title “asylum” has been altogether abolished. Every care is
also taken that only really insane people are deprived of their liberty. The
principle central supervision over
the asylums in England and Wales is vested in the Lord Chancellor, and in the
Commissioners of Lunacy, appointed by him. The Commissioners inspect all
establishments to see that the regulations for the welfare of he patients are
properly framed and administered. They investigate complaints made by patients,
and have the power to grant discharges. A lunatic can be placed under restraint
either under a reception order or by inquisition. A reception order is made by a
Justice of the Peace on petition or on a summary process. A lunatic may be
detained in a workhouse or an asylum for fourteen days on the certificate of the
medical officer. For a permanent detention, an order of the Justice of the Peace
is required. Inquisitions are practically held only when the patients have
Figures show that the number of certified lunatics is increasing in this
country to an extent that must cause anxiety. In fifteen yearsthe percentage per
10.000 of the population rose from 30.3 to 35.7. Although the statistics in
recent years show an increase in the number of inmates, this is partly due to
the fact that many of the feeble-minded who were formerly placed in
workhouses are now sent to the asylums to relieve the local rates. Owing to the
improved conditrions, the public
have less apprehension in allowing their relatives to be sent to these
institutions. Other important factors are the large proportion of incurables among the admissions; also the difficulty of
obtaining homes for the cases of
more favourable types when they have partially recovered. As a rule their
friends are too poor to make provision for them. With this great growth, the
public mind has been directed to dealing with it at the two extremities. In
Scotland something is done by means
of homes for preliminary cases. In some cases where the mental weakness is due
to overwork or temporary worries, the sufferer is saved from the stigma of
asylum detention. The large percentage of relapses has led a philanthropist to
endeavour to relieve the situation by anither direction, and that is by the
after care of the patients who have recovered, but are not entirely competent to
resume the battle of life. This method of dealing with the difficulty is likely
to be extended, as it is receiving
the enthusiastic support of sociologists.
taken from the 1911 District Handbook Ratepayers’ Guide and Almanack for Bowes
Park, Palmers Green, Southgate, Winchmore Hill and New Southgate
Submitted by Anthea Greenaway
Page updated March 12, 2008 by Rossbret