MADNESS AND THE 19TH CENTURY ASYLUM
with Mike Jay
Thursday 8th June 2017
Doors open at 6:30 pm, Talk commences at 7:00 pm and ends at 8:00 pm
The ambitions of the 19th-century asylum were far greater than its predecessor’s. They were formed by inspiring examples such as the Retreat at York where the local Quaker community cared for their mentally unwell members in spacious, comfortable surroundings more like a home than a prison. The asylum became an emblem of social progress: a therapeutic community in which patients were to be treated with kindness, healed and reintegrated into society. But recovery rates remained stubbornly low, and as the century progressed the asylums filled and overflowed. Care was stretched thin and their humane intentions were lost in the crowded wards, where ever more patients were “put away” for life.
In this talk Mike Jay, the co-curator of Wellcome Collection's Bedlam: the asylum and beyond, will reveal the ambitions and failures of the 19th century asylum focusing on the history of London’s infamous Bethlehem or Bedlam hospital.
Mike Jay has written extensively on the cultural history of science, medicine, drugs, madness and politics. He’s the author and editor of ten titles including The Air Loom Gang (of which Oliver Sacks wrote, “I have never seen the logic of madness so clearly and convincingly expressed…a wonderful book”) and The Unfortunate Colonel Despard, hailed as “popular history at its best” by the Times..
Please click here to read more about Mike Jay.
Tickets £15 including a glass of prosecco. Please click here to buy.