Being an asylum patient 4: Christian Watt at Aberdeen Royal Mental Asylum, 1877

As I showed last week, Herman Charles Merivale’s time at Ticehurst was a bit like being in a nice hotel, though he did not like the other ‘guests’. Someone who seems to have settled rather better into an institutional environment was a working class Aberdeenshire woman, who also wrote a retrospective account of her time in a public asylum. She wrote with frankness and sensitivity, about both herself and her fellow patients, making the best of her prolonged stay, which lasted 45 years. However, it is also clear that she re-wrote much of what happened, including the frightening circumstances of delusion and arson, which had caused her to be admitted in the first place.

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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