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Bethlem Royal Hospital and Its Influence on France. By: Lela. St. Mary’s Bethlehem. London 1247 Lastingly known as Bethlem (“Bedlam”) Meaning uproar and confusion The worlds FIRST psychiatric hospital Infamous for the brutal treatments of its inmates. Fifteenth Century.

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Bethlem Royal Hospital and Its Influence on France

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st mary s bethlehem
St. Mary’s Bethlehem
  • London 1247
  • Lastingly known as Bethlem (“Bedlam”)
    • Meaning uproar and confusion
  • The worlds FIRST psychiatric hospital
  • Infamous for the brutal treatments of its inmates
fifteenth century
Fifteenth Century
  • The presence of the insane is first mentioned in 1403
  • Henry IV brought the hospital's porter, Peter Taverner, to trial for abusing his office
    • Charged with stealing two stocks, various chains with locks, manacles, and some metal chairs
    • Items were used routinely to restrain the patients
  • No advances in the treatment of mental illness were made before the middle of the twentieth century
    • Little could be offered beyond custodial care
sixteenth seventeenth centuries
Sixteenth & SeventeenthCenturies
  • In 1547, it went under control of the City of London
  • Violent or dangerous patients were manacled and chained to the floor or wall
  • In 1676 a new building was opened at Moorfields
    • the existing building was ‘very old, weak and ruinous’.
    • Iron grilles across the centre to divide the male and female wings
the boys of bedlam
“The Boys of Bedlam”
  • More "fortunate" inmates were discharged from the hospital
    • Were given license to beg on the streets of London
    • Identifiable by the tin plate that they wore on their arms
  • Became known as the Bedlam Beggars, Abraham-Men, Bedlamers, Bedlamites or Tom O'Bedlam
eighteenth century
Eighteenth Century
  • Patients were subjected to public scorn of those who were allowed in
    • Public had to pay a fee
      • Allowed to gawk, laugh and aggravate the patients
      • Allowed to bring in long sticks to poke the patients
a revolution in treatment
A Revolution in Treatment
  • Philippe Pinel, a French doctor
    • Head of the Paris asylum for insane men at Bicêtre in 1792
    • Argued that confining the mentally ill to jails, pens, cellars and garrets, restraining them in chains, straight jackets and chairs, feeding them bread and water, and hiring attendants based on their strength was unacceptable.
    • Sparked a revolution in the treatment of the mentally ill.
in response to unreason
In Response to “Unreason”
  • Families can have mad family members legally restrained upon obtaining a “lettre de cachet” from royal officials
    • Warrants effectively depriving the “lunatic” of all legal rights
  • 1808 – An Act of Parliament passed.
    • Permitting the use of public funds for asylums
  • 1845 – against those who denounced it as a waste of money or an infringement of freedom
nineteenth century
Nineteenth Century
  • The hospital moved to its third site in 1815
    • Due to increased numbers and a crumbling building
    • Moved to St George’s Fields, Southwark
  • Restraint of patients had been used sparingly at Bethlem in the 1840s
    • Was abandoned in the 1850s
  • Emphasis on the opportunities for work and leisure as a means of facilitating recovery
  • The wards began to be much more comfortable
  • Bethlem moved to its present site in 1930
  • Did not want to replicate the buildings of Moorfields and St George’s Fields but to design the hospital on the ‘villa system’
    • Each ward had its own building with kitchen, dining room and garden
    • Other facilities were housed in separate units throughout the 250 acres of grounds
how bethlem influenced france
How Bethlem Influenced France
  • In France 1656, King Louis XIV, ordained the confinement of beggars, vagabonds, tramps, freethinkers, prostitutes and the insane
  • The Hopital General of Paris was established to segregate socially dependent or disruptive individuals from society
  • Other hospitals included:
    • La Bicetre – for men
    • Salpetriere – for women
works cited
Works Cited
  • Allderidge, Patricia. “A Brief History of Bethlehem”. Genetic Futures News. December 2, 2010.
  • Andrews, Jonathan and Scull, Andrew. Undertaker. University of California Press. California. 2001.
  • Baker, Jeffrey, Golann, Stuart and Pomerants, Jay M. The Bethlehem Diaries. Canfield Press. San Francisco, California. 1974.
  • "Bedlam." Dictionary of the Middle Ages. Ed. Joseph R. Strayer. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989. Gale World History In Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2010.
  • Johnson, Ann Braden. Out of Bedlam: The Truth About Deinstitutionalization. Basic Books, Inc. New York. 1990.
  • Porter, Ray. Madness: A Brief History. Oxford University Press, Inc. New York. 2002.