So i was studying for an exam in my psychiatry class and Bedlam happened to be mentioned. I looked it up and was shocked with what i found.
The "hospital" was notorious for its cruelty on the patients and its physical condition.
The hospital even allowed civilians to pay a penny and were allowed to walk in the asylum and watch the patients for their own amusement.
This was an article i found that had the most detail on patient "treatment". I cant believe how disgusting these so called "healthcare providers" were.
here's the article
"Tales of Bedlam
Bedlam, Bethlem Royal Hospital, must surely be one of the most famous hospitals in the world. Itís been around, one way or another, since 1247 and is infamous as a lunatic asylum.
The history of the hospital itself against the history of the ways in which the mad were treated, and against what she sees as a rising tide of madness within society.
The lunatics were first called "patients" in 1700, and "curable" and "incurable" wards were opened in 1725-34. In the 18th century people used to go to Bedlam to stare at the lunatics. For a penny one could peer into their cells, view the freaks of the "show of Bethlehem" and laugh at their antics, generally of a sexual nature or violent fights. Entry was free on the first Tuesday of the month. Visitors were permitted to bring long sticks with which to poke and enrage the inmates. In 1814 alone, there were 96,000 such visits.
'It was so loathesomely and filthily kept that it was not fit for any man or woman to come into.
Situated variously in Bishopsgate, Moorfields and Lambeth, one of the main attractions over the centuries for the London mob was the Bethlehem Royal Hospital or Bedlam'.
So famous has the hospital become that the word has been accepted into the English language signifying 'a scene of wild uproar'.
The lunatic asylum made a lot of money from the public up to the year 1770, as visitors were admitted to see the lunatics as we might visit the zoo today, the entrance fee being 1d.
In a report to the House of Commons in 1815. Dr. Connoly reported that he found in one of the side-rooms; "about ten patients each chained by one arm or leg to the wall, each wearing a sort of dressing gown with nothing to fasten it.
Some sensible and accomplished, some imbeciles. Many women were locked up naked with only one blanket."
One inmate was chained to her bed for eight years, the matron feeling the prisoner would murder her if released.
When finally the date of her release arrived she became tranquil, nursing two dolls which she imagined were her children. Another patient, well-known to the many visitors, wore a straw cap and promised to declare war on the stars if rewarded with a bottle of wine.
One of the most famous patients, often visited by members of Parliament was a certain William Morris. For twelve years he was chained with a strong iron ring round his neck His arms were pinioned by an iron bar and he could only move twelve feet away from the wall. In this position he lived as normal a life as possible before dying shortly after his release.
Two more patients spent a total of over eighty years between them in Bedlam fortrying to kill the same man. James Hadfield was confined for 39 years for attempting to shoot George III.
He spent his time writing verses on the deaths of his cats and birds, his only companions in the hospital. Margaret Nicholson spent 42 years in solitary confinement for attempting to stab the same King.
William Cooper described his thoughts on visiting the asylum as a youngster,
"The madness of some of them has such a humorous air, and displayed itself in so many whimsical freaks, that it was impossible not to be entertained at the same time that I was angry with myself for being so."
The life stories of some of the patients who finished their days in Bedlam make fascinating reading.
Hannah Hyson died within days of being rescued by her father from Bethlem, her body covered in scabs and her knuckles red raw where she had crawled about her cell on her hands and knees.
Ann Morley, a former patient at Bethlem, was admitted to Northampton Asylum in a skeletally weak condition, incontinent, prolapsed and close to death.
Upon recovery, she testified to being punched in the face by a bad-tempered nurse called Black Sall (the name referred to Sall's moods), hosed down with freezing water and being made to sleep naked on straw in a cellar.
It was only with the arrival of William Charles Hood, in 1853, that Bethlem began its long process of reform, and even after this date episodes of cruelty and neglect surfaced, with a high suicide rate attracting press coverage in the 1880s.
By the turn of the century, Bethlem had undergone a transformation: pauper lunatics had been banished to the great asylums on the fringes of London; the worried well and the shabby genteel, driven to madness by the pressures of middle-class life, inhabited a comfortable asylum that appeared, at first glance, more like a Pall Mall club than a psychiatric institution.
In 1930, the hospital was relocated to Kent, while the imposing Victorian building in Southwark, with its distinctive pumpkin-shaped dome, took on a new role as the Imperial War Museum.
Today the hospital, where comedian Jo Brand was a psychiatric nurse, looks more like a series of villas. There, ancient books, the size of broadsheet newspapers, list the case histories of former patients."
Mood: disgusted Music: Korn - Hollow Life (unplugged)