Rethinking Madness: Inside the World’s Oldest Asylum

Rethinking Madness: Inside the World’s Oldest Asylum.

Humane treatment for mental patients began only during the late 18th century, and this historical long read of what it was like to be in an asylum prior to the advent of modern psychiatry may be an eye-opener for some. The Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham, south London, is Europe’s oldest asylum, but is now a modern psychiatric facility. Historically, it was representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform. Now, it is closely associated with King’s College London and is in partnership with the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. Originally the hospital was near Bishopsgate, just outside the walls of the City of London, it moved outside of Moorfields in the 17th century, then to St George’s Fields in Southwark in the 19th century, before moving to its current location at Monks Orchard in West Wickham in 1930.

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