Journal Article

‘A constant irritation to the townspeople’? Local, Regional and National Politics and London's County Asylums at Epsom

Rob Ellis

in Social History of Medicine

Published on behalf of Society for the Social History of Medicine

Volume 26, issue 4, pages 653-671
Published in print November 2013 | ISSN: 0951-631X
Published online May 2013 | e-ISSN: 1477-4666 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/shm/hkt002
‘A constant irritation to the townspeople’? Local, Regional and National Politics and London's County Asylums at Epsom

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In 1908, The Times described London County Council's asylums near Epsom as ‘a constant irritation to the townspeople’. The article was specifically concerned with the patient walking parties that made their way into the town. This, and references to the site of the asylum, focused on the sense of imposition as local residents were forced to contend with London's insane population. As the ‘townspeople’ negotiated the impact of the asylums, the Urban District Council and Lord Rosebery, a former Prime Minister, were to play central roles. The aim of this article is to uncover the motivations of the Council and Rosebery and the roles that first the asylums and then their patients played in the development of their views. Ultimately, it will be argued that although the Council and Rosebery operated outside the management structure of London Asylums, they were able to instigate changes to the ways in which patients were managed.

Keywords: asylums; London County Council; Rosebery; Commissioners in Lunacy; Epsom

Journal Article.  10618 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History ; History of Medicine

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