Further Reading & Links

Just a selection of websites and books you may wish to read

Mental Health Charities/Help






Historical Groups/Archive Information

English Heritage


National Archives

Wellcome Library

Asylum Projects

The History of the Workhouse

Mental Health Museums:

Glenside Hosptial Museum

The Mental Health Museum

Exploration Websites & Forums:

Pete C


The Time Chamber

Whatever’s Left

28 Days Later

Derelict Places

Simon Cornwell


Asylum: Inside The Closed World of State Mental Hospitals

A superb, large format coffee table book with lots of stunning images detailing the large, almost city like, American Asylums.

Christopher Payne
ISBN: 978-0-262-01349-9

A History of St. Nicholas Hospital, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England 1869-2001

Encapsulating the origins and history of Newcastle’s lunatic asylum in its entirety, from first opening in 1869 until what may be regarded as its eventual demise in 2001. This book contains a detailed narrative of the hospitals history.

Logan Ewing
ISBN: 9781438937540

Asylum, Hospital, Haven – A History of Horton Hospital

Published a year before the hospital was due to close, Ruth Valentine has given a brief, yet meticulous history and insight into the Horton Hospital in Epsom. It includes archive photos, various patient and staff stories and a short background into why the Horton Estate was chosen for the development of a cluster of Asylums.

Ruth Valentine
ISBN: 0952830604

Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

One of the key texts that look at institutionalisation within the Asylums and was key to the rethinking of Mental Health Treatment.

Erving Goffman.
ISBN: 0140210075
ISBN13: 978-0140210071

Asylum History: Buckingham County Pauper Lunatic Asylum St. John’s

John Crammer
ISBN: 0902241346

Closing the Asylum (The mental patient in modern society)

Looking at the treatment of the mentally ill, this book discusses NHS spending cuts and the recent drive towards closing mental hospitals and treating patients by means of ‘community care’. It looks at Victorian institutionalization and speculates on the adequacy of community care and support.

Peter Barham
ISBN-13: 9780140265804
IISBN-10: 0140265805

The Dark Awakening: A history of St Lawrence’s Hospital, Bodmin

C. T Andrews
ISBN-13: 9780950472218
ISBN-10: 0950472212

Hospital and Asylum Architecture in England 1840-1914

Published in 1991, Jeremy Taylor’s comprehensive and detailed study covers the majority of the Victorian Asylums built of a 150 year period. Twenty eight pages are devoted to the rise of the Victorian and Edwardian asylums – from ad-hoc designs through the corridor, radiating pavilion, echelon and colony patterns. Taylor supplies comprehensive lists of asylums, architects and projects.

Jeremy Taylor
ISBN 0720120594

Madness in Its Place: Narratives of Severalls Hospital, 1913-97

This fascinating study presents a unique social history of psychiatry in the twentieth century. It brings together the memories and narratives of over sixty patients and workers who lived, or were employed, in Severalls Psychiatric Hospital, Essex, England. Personal accounts are contextualised both in relation to wider developments and issues in twentieth-century mental health, and in relation to policies and changes in the hospital itself. Organised around the theme of space and place, and drawing upon both quantitative and qualitative material, chapters deal with key areas such as gender divisions, power relations, patterns of admission and discharge, treatments, and the daily lives and routines of patients and nurses of both sexes.

Diana Gittins
ISBN: 0415167868

Mental Health Care in Modern England: The Norfolk Lunatic Asylum/St Andrew’s Hospital, 1810-1998

A meticulous analysis of the Norfolk Lunatic Asylum (which) gives a well-balanced, empirically grounded analysis both of the asylum and of what replaced it. An informed, clearly-structured narrative about a complex sequence of institutional development. Has proved an invaluable teaching aid for undergraduates studying the politics and practice of modern medicine.

Steven Cherry
ISBN: 0851159206

Mental Disability in Victorian England: The Earlswood Asylum 1847-1901

This book contributes to the growing scholarly interest in the history of disability by investigating the emergence of ‘idiot’ asylums in Victorian England. Using the National Asylum for Idiots, Earlswood, as a case-study, it investigates the social history of institutionalization, privileging the relationship between the medical institution and the society whence its patients came.

David Wright
ISBN: 0199246394

Mind Over Matter – A Study Of The Country’s Threatened Mental Asylums

The first comprehensive study of the current plight of Britain’s mental hospitals. These attractive and imposing Victorian buildings, carefully designed with extensive landscaped grounds, are now facing an uncertain future. By the year 2000, 98 out of a total of 121 will have closed. The report calls for tighter planning controls to be brought in to prevent the loss of both buildings and grounds to over-development. Published October 1995.

The North Wales Hospital, Denbigh 1842 – 1995

This book, incorporating some 70 photographs, tells the fascinating history of the former North Wales Hospital, Denbigh between 1842 and 1995. The hospital was built predominately to provide for Welsh Pauper Lunatics, the majority of whom were monoglot Welsh speakers, so that they could be cared for and treated in their own language instead of being sent to English Asylums.

Clwyd Wynne
ISBN: 9780951483145

Parc Hospital, The Last Days

A powerful collection of photographs and comments from a psychiatric hospital as it moves towards closure.

Mark Saunders
ISBN: 9780951483145

Proper House: Bedford Lunatic Asylum,1812-1860

Bernard Cashman
ISBN: 0951362623

Psychiatry for the Rich: History of Ticehurst Private Asylum, 1792-1917

Exploring the way private asylum proprietors sought to develop and maintain a share of the market in mental health care, and how the families of patients were themselves deeply involved in the decisions about care, treatment and referral. Psychiatry for the Rich reconstructs middle and upper class attitudes to mental disorder, certification and confinement, as well as their changing evaluation of care. Through a detailed history of the asylum at Ticehurst in Sussex, Charlotte Mackenzie explores the consumer revolution which stimulated the proliferation of madhouses. She includes accounts of patients own experiences at Ticehurst and discusses the changing developments at the asylum through the course of the nineteenth century amidst changes in therapeutic regimen and calls for lunacy reform.

Charlotte Mackenzie
ISBN: 0415088917

Springfield Hospital – A Short History

A small book produced by the current Mental Health Trust at Wandsworth that covers the early history of the First Asylum to be built in Surrey, this publication should be available via the Trust.

Ian Lodge Patch

Stone House – The City of London Asylum

The Hospital at Stone House was unique, being the only Asylum owned and run by the Corporation of London and served the community of 139 years. This book covers the entire history and is filled with photos, account and descriptions from the hospital during the time it was open.

Francine Payne
ISBN: 0955646006

Storthes Hall Remembered

The author, Ann Littlewood, started working at Storthes Hall Hospital in 1968 and her fascinating account traces the history of the site at Kirkburton from before the construction of the hospital, during it’s lifetime until closure (1904-1991). There are chapters within the book relating to the lives and treatment of the patients and those who were responsible for them. Patients from all parts of England, particularly Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Halifax and Barnsley were admitted to this hospital.

Ann Littlewood
ISBN: 1862180466

Sweet Bells Jangled Out of Tune: A History of the Sussex Lunatic Asylum (St. Francis Hospital, Haywards Heath)

Mr Gardner has achieved what others have only hoped to do-he has written a very concise historical guide to one particular personal contact in the otherwise neglected and sometimes badly documented story of ‘madhouses’. People tend to forget nowadays that these institutions functioned in a somewhat ‘Victorian’ manner until recent times and a lot of what happened inside the walls was either not documented or ignored.

James Gardner

The Victorian Asylum

Dreaded and reviled by many, these nineteenth-century buildings provide a unique window on how the Victorians housed and treated the mentally ill. Despite initially good intentions, they became warehouses for society’s outcasts at a time when cures were rare. Isolated, hidden in the countryside and surrounded by high walls, most have been closed since the 1980s, their original use largely forgotten. In The Victorian Asylum Sarah Rutherford gives an insight into their history, their often imposing architecture and their later decline and brings to life these haunting buildings, some of which still survive today

Sarah Rutherford
ISBN: 9780747806691