Being an Asylum Patient 2: Letters from the Royal Edinburgh Hospital

Last week I looked at some regulations from Cardiff District Asylum at the start of the twentieth century. One of their main functions was to restrict communication between patients and the outside world, but it is often difficult to see how patients experienced their lives within institutions. The most abundant records are of what doctors and their staff did to patients. Yet patient letters to the staff or ones they tried to get to outsiders give unique insights into the spectrum of heartfelt attitudes from gratitude to anger and dislike, shown by patients. The uses and abuses of power in the narrow compass of a mental hospital come through very clearly.

You can find the extract here  or you can listen to a voice extract on our soundcloud stream using the link below.

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