An Asylum for Idiots


in Mental Disability in Victorian England

Published in print October 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246397
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191715235 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

 An Asylum for Idiots

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


Show Summary Details


Recent work on the emergence of the 19th-century county asylums in England has emphasised the important role that philanthropy played in the establishment of the rate-aided mental hospitals for idiots — people with mental disability. Some of the early county asylums were not purely institutions harbouring the pauperised population, but were also philanthropic institutions that accepted charitable patients. Charities played a crucial role in the development of new techniques for treating the insane. The York Retreat, an institution built by the Society of Friends, pioneered what is now famously known as the ‘moral treatment’ of insanity. With its emphasis on institutional care, moral treatment became the ideological prop for those proposing the construction of therapeutic lunatic asylums. This chapter discusses how the Earlswood Asylum was established with contributions from charity.

Keywords: mental disability; Earlswood Asylum; idiots; moral treatment; institutional care; charities; insanity; county asylums

Chapter.  10336 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or purchase to access all content.