from THE MEDICAL SUPERINTENDENT'S REPORTS 1850-51

 


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)
 

 

 

June 26 1850

I have to report that there are now 117 patients in the House – 69 males and 48 females – there having been admitted during the past week 21 males and 9 females.

The House Rules have been printed and a copy given to each of the Attendants and Servants; and the Establishment is gradually getting into working order.

In accordance with a Resolution (No 43) of the Committee, I have conferred with Mr Talbot about the locks on the outer doors on the male side. As the best means of making any one or more of these doors secure, whilst the others are left open to the ward attendants, he recommends new locks in preference to an alteration of the present ones: and it appears that six such locks would be required for the purpose.

A few days ago I addressed a note to Mr Gaskell asking his opinion as to the utility of Shower Baths in the treatment of Insanity, and as to the best mode of constructing them. His reply will be laid before you.

July 3 1850

I have to report to the House Committee that 18 female patients were received from Haydock on Thursday last – making a total of 135 now in the Asylum – 69 males and 66 females. On examining one of these patients, who came under the name of Millington, I was unable to identify her as the person who went from Birmingham in August last, and on further enquiry, I discovered that a mistake had been made – the wrong person sent. – The false Mary Millington has just returned to Haydock, and the real one is now at the Workhouse waiting to be certified.

July 10 1850

I have felt it necessary to suspend one of the Ward Attendants – Phillip Lane – for the following breach of duty: on Monday, I gave him permission to go out for the evening to meet an only sister who was passing through Birmingham. Instead of returning as he ought to have done, at half past nine the same evening, he did not come back till a quarter past ten yesterday morning.

July 24 1850 – monthly report

On the 25th of June the female patients were treated with cake and tea upon the grass: 40 out of the 48 who were then in the House being present, and on the 17th inst. all the patients both male and female were regaled with Roast Beef and Plum Pudding, these being a present from the Superintendent. The dinner was provided in the Hall, and 63 males and 61 females sat down to it, leaving 17 in the galleries. After dinner the females had music for an hour or two, and then the whole 124 assembled in two parties on the grass, where they took tea, and amused themselves with different games till their bedtime – conducting themselves throughout on this occasion as on the former, with remarkable decorum and propriety.

31 July 1850

The Superintendent being desirous to do away with the use of straw for the dirty patients, and to substitute for it covered mattresses similar to those in use at Stafford, hopes the Committee will permit him, by way of trial, to prepare a few in a similar way; for which purpose some India-rubber sheeting (at 2/- per yard) would be required, and also some solution of India-rubber, and a yard or two of Gutta-percha tubing.

28 August 1850 – monthly report

Two of the recently admitted patients came from Stoke-upon-Trent, being the first out-borough cases admitted.

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.

8 October 1850 – monthly report

Scrivens [James] was almost moribund at the time of his admission and he died four days afterwards from exhaustion. This case is remarkable from the circumstances of his father having been in the House at the same time. The son was admitted a week after the father.

Oct 2 – Joseph Scrivens, a paralytic patient, fell upon the airing court steps, and caused several slight cuts upon the face.

A little alteration in the Dietary which has been tried for a short time and has been found to answer well, is submitted for the consideration of the Committee. It is the substitution of Meat Pie for Irish Stew. The object of the change is to make the dietary a little more substantial without increasing its cost, for the Irish Stew, as here prepared, is but soup under another name, and three soup days in the week were thought to be too much.

A complaint has been made against three of the Ward Attendants – On Thursday last, James Sanders, John Gaffney and Phillip Lane were intoxicated and for a considerable portion of the day were incapacitated from properly attending to their duties. John Gaffney has twice before been in a similar condition, but not whilst upon duty; and it will be recollected that Phillip Lane was brought before the House Committee for breach of duty on the 10th of July. 

23 October 1850

One padded room for each sex having been found insufficient, especially on the male side, the construction of one or two more is recommended. For want of such protection two men have within the last week been severely bruised on the head – one, James Lewis, by butting his head against the wall in a paroxysm of furious mania – the other, Joseph Scrivens, a weakly paralytic patient, by, it is supposed, falling against the wall in the night. At the time these accidents happened, the padded room was occupied by a third patient.

12 November 1850 – monthly report

Escapes

John Burrill on the evening of Oct 26th – returned voluntarily on the following day.

Andrew Crawford on the evening of Oct 27th, not since heard of.

Joseph Pitt on the 29th and on the 31st October: on each occasion he went to his mother’s house in the Town.

Edward Chidlow, on the morning of the 4th inst, not yet heard of.

… In conjunction with the Clerk & Steward I have been considering the best means for a more systematic indoor occupation for the male patients. Something is wanted analagous to sewing for the females – some simple employment that could be resorted to on wet days by nearly all the patients, under the eye of the regular Ward Attendants. I fear there is no such employment to be found. Tailoring, Shoemaking, Mat-making, Basket-making, Straw-plaiting, etc have been adopted in different Asylums, but not, as far as I can learn, on a very extensive scale. Here we are disposed to recommend the adoption, in the first instance, of Tailoring and Mat-making – the former as being most useful; the latter because it is as simple as any, and may be made a source of some little profit. And it is thought that the person who superintends this department at the Prison might initiate one or two of our most intelligent Attendants into the process, so that they would be able to instruct the Patients. The Tailoring will require a person who understands the business, which one of our present attendants professes to do. Hitherto he has proved himself the least efficient of our Staff, but we propose to give him a trial in this, and, if he fail, recommend the engagement of a better qualified person in his place. But the chief attention should be directed to the outdoor employment, which is not only the most easily carried out, but is by far the most beneficial to the Patients.

4 December 1850

On Sunday morning last, during the hour of Divine Service, Thomas Bates was left in the ward, with a few other patients, under the charge of R B Hervey, who thoughtlessly chose that hour to go to his room to dress, at the same time leaving the airing court accessible to the Patients. As Bates was seen in the court at this time by another Patient, and as it is a very easy matter to get over the airing court wall, there is little doubt that it was in this way he escaped.

This is not the only act of negligence on the part of Hervey. On the evening of the same day, about a quarter before 10, I found the door of one of the bedrooms (under his charge during the temporary absence of his fellow attendant) had been left unlocked, and the Patient lying undressed on his bed.

6 January 1851 – Annual Report

Table 7

Supposed Cause of Disorder

 

Male

Female

Total

Congenital defect

4

3

7

Over study

2

-

2

Old age

1

-

1

Epilepsy

18

13

31

Fright

3

4

7

Grief

2

4

6

Intemperance

16

2

18

Ill treatment of husband

-

4

4

Jealousy

1

1

2

Love

1

4

5

Domestic troubles

-

4

4

Paralysis

3

1

4

Pecuniary losses and anxiety

5

3

8

Care and trouble

11

5

16

Injury to the head

4

1

5

Unknown or not assigned

38

36

74

Puerperal

-

2

2

Poverty or distress

-

3

3

Religious anxiety

3

5

8

 

TOTAL

112

95

207

 

Hereditary disposition ascertained in

22

20

42

 

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