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How do we account for the rise and decline of asylums? When we think about the history of psychiatry we probably envisage Victorian lunatic asylums. Large institutional buildings that can look like military barracks or even prisons, their names were locally synonymous with madness. Though now mostly demolished or converted to other uses, some still stand near to the main towns and cities of Britain and Ireland, their imposing physical presence a memorial to a now abandoned system. This section of four podcasts explains where asylums came from, how they developed, and what ultimately happened to them at the end of the twentieth century, when the institutional solution that asylums represent was so decisively overturned.

Image of the week: man in restraint chair, West Riding Lunatic Asylum, Wakefield, Yorkshire, c. 1869
Full Bibliographic Record: Wellcome Library Catalogue L0019069
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0


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