Being an asylum patient 3b: Herman Charles Merivale at Ticehurst, 1875

Last week’s extract and podcast allowed us to see what others thought of the lawyer Herman Charles Merivale, when he was committed to a private asylum. The document from which it came exists in abundance for 19th century asylums. Insight into how patients saw the experience of incarceration are much rarer, though I shall give examples this week and next. Merivale is unusual because he wrote his own account of entering and living in an up-market private madhouse. Public asylums were crowded with paupers. Understaffed and with only basic facilities, they were probably difficult environments for most patients. Merivale’s experience was very different, though he does not seem to have enjoyed it.

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


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