BIRMINGHAM LUNATIC ASYLUM

 


ASYLUM CASES

ASYLUM DIET 1871


from MEDICAL SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORT 1850-51

STAFF AND PATIENT NUMBERS 1851-81

PATIENTS EMPLOYED 1871

MANSLAUGHTER CASES

 

A NAME TO TREASURE (Chapter 1)
 

 

BIRMINGHAM LUNATIC ASYLUM

You may wonder why anyone would take an interest in "the local madhouse"! Well, in the course of my family history research I came across the following death certificate for my great, great, great grandfather:

My question of course was: was he mad? The truth of the matter was that he was epileptic, and had a seizure in the street. This, coupled with the smell of whisky on his breath, was enough to convince a doctor and magistrate that he was indeed mad, and should be removed to the local asylum. That was in 1858: he never came out. Whilst in there, his son George ELSE, my great great grandfather died as a young man, leaving behind a one year old baby, Henry John ELSE. For more details of the Else family history, click here.

But what kind of place was the Birmingham Lunatic Asylum? What kind of people were sent there, and were they ever cured? Who were the patients listed only by their initials in most of the 19th century census returns? On the left you will see a link through to a file of cases as well as links to other information about the asylum. You will also see a link to the first chapter of my novel, A Name to Treasure, based on the life of Fanny J Crompton, one of the first patients at the asylum. The Medical Superintendent's report stated:

28 August 1850 monthly report 

The deaf and dumb girl, F J Crompton, has been quite well during the past month. She has not been visited by anyone, or enquired after, since she came.

I would be fascinated to hear from anyone with information about the asylum in the 19th century, or anyone whose ancestors were patients there. It is hard to piece together what happened, how their lives were before and after a spell in the asylum, and how the families of patients treated them. You can e-mail me at asylum@stewartelse.com

 

   

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