Henry Maudsley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Henry Maudslay.
Henry Maudsley
Henry Maudsley.jpg
Photograph by G. Jerrard, 1881.
Born 1835
Giggleswick, Yorkshire
Died 1918
Bushey Heath, Hertfordshire
Nationality British
Fields Psychiatry
Alma mater University College London

Henry Maudsley MD, LLD, FRCP (5 February 1835 – 23 January 1918) was a pioneering British psychiatrist, commemorated in the Maudsley Hospital in London and in the annual Maudsley Lecture of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.


Maudsley was born on an isolated farm near Giggleswick in the North Riding of Yorkshire and educated at Giggleswick School and University College London.[1] He was an outstandingly brilliant medical student, collecting ten Gold Medals and graduating with an M.D. degree in 1857. Like Charles Darwin, Maudsley lost his mother at an early age and, to some extent, he carried signs of bereavement throughout his adult life, compromising his intellectual gifts with temperamental caution, detachment and reserve. Initially seeking employment in the East India medical services, he was required to have psychiatric experience and took an asylum job at the West Riding Asylum in Wakefield for ten months. He then worked, less happily, at the Essex County Asylum at Brentwood for a brief period. Unlike his slightly younger contemporary James Crichton-Browne, Maudsley regarded himself as a physician rather than a medical psychologist; and despite his trenchant materialism, Maudsley never flirted with phrenological ideas.

At the age of 23, Maudsley was appointed medical superintendent at the Manchester Royal Lunatic Asylum in Cheadle Royal. He returned to London in 1862, taking up residence in Queen Anne St., Cavendish Square and, in 1865, he applied, unsuccessfully, for the position of Physician to the Bethlem Royal Hospital; however, he did obtain a position as a physician to the West London Hospital. Maudsley was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and delivered their Gulstonian Lectures in 1870 – on Body and Mind. The text of Maudsley's lectures was studied carefully by Charles Darwin in the preparation of his The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872). Maudsley was appointed Professor of Medical Jurisprudence at University College London from 1869 to 1879.[2]

Maudsley married John Conolly's daughter, Ann Conolly, in February 1866, and from 1866 took over the running of Conolly's private mental asylum, Lawn House, until 1874. Maudsley acquired a reputation as an outstanding essayist on medical and literary topics with numerous contributions to the Journal of Mental Science which he edited from 1862 until 1878. Maudsley's supreme position as Britain's foremost mental specialist was sealed by his acquaintance with Charles Darwin and other leading Victorian intellectuals and by his magisterial textbooks The Physiology and Pathology of Mind (1867), Body and Mind (1870) and Mental Responsibility in Health and Disease (1874). His popularity was exemplified by his influence on many novels by Rosa Nouchette Carey.[3] In his later years, Maudsley became something of a recluse, resigning from the Medico-Psychological Association and, in some scattered writings, expressing regret at his career choice of psychiatry. Maudsley was predeceased by his wife and died without issue.[4]

Maudsley was agnostic and was critical of claims and reports of supernatural phenomena. In his book Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings (1886) he wrote that so-called supernatural experiences could be explained in terms of disorders of the mind and were simply "malobservations and misinterpretations of nature".[5] His book is seen as an early text in the field of anomalistic psychology. In 1907, Maudsley collaborated with London County Council to found the Maudsley Hospital by donating £30,000.[6] This was to be a new mental hospital that would treat early and acute cases and have an out-patient clinic. The hospital also housed teaching and research. The buildings were ready in 1915 and a new Act of Parliament made voluntary treatment possible. In 1948, the hospital merged with Bethlem Royal Hospital.


"Mental disorders are neither more nor less than nervous diseases in which mental symptoms predominate, and their entire separation from other nervous diseases has been a sad hindrance to progress...." Henry Maudsley (1870) Body and Mind, page 41.

"Maudsley was revealed to me in a brilliant essay on Edgar Allan Poe, which....although too scathing and denunciatory....was so rich in insight....as to betoken the "lighting of another taper at Heaven," which was at that time Maudsley's way of describing the arrival of a new man of genius on the scene. A few years later I made Maudsley's personal acquaintance at the table of that gracefully-refined and highly gifted physician and philanthropist, Dr John Conolly, who afterwards became his father-in-law...." James Crichton-Browne (1920) The First Maudsley Lecture.

"A rich source of wrong beliefs is the prolific activity of imagination....by filling up voids of knowledge with fictions and theories, its quick and easy working is a striking contrast with the slow and toilsome work of observation and reasoning. Being the productive force in mind, it has, like the productive forces in nature, three marked qualities: it is prolific, it is pleasant, it is prophetic." Henry Maudsley (1886) Natural Causes and Supernatural Seemings.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MAUDSLEY, Henry". Who's Who, 59: p. 1197. 1907. 
  2. ^ Mary Elizabeth Leighton, Lisa Surridge. (2012). The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Prose, 1832–1901. Broadview Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-1551118604
  3. ^ Elaine Hartnell: Carey, Rosa Nouchette 1840–1909 (1999). In: The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English.
  4. ^ ed: Bynum, W F; Porter, Roy; Shepard, Michael, ed. (1988). "Chapter 6". The anatomy of madness. Volume 3, The Asylum and its Psychiatry. (Hardback). London, England & New York City: Routledge. ISBN 0-422-60350-3. 
  5. ^ Ivan Leudar, Philip Thomas. (2000). Voices of Reason, Voices of Insanity: Studies of Verbal Hallucinations. Routledge. pp. 106–107. ISBN 978-0415147873
  6. ^ "The Maudsley Hospital, Past and Present," The Journal of Mental Science, Vol. LXVII, 1921.
  7. ^ Reprinted in School-Room Classics, N°. 9, C. W. Bardeen, 1884.
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Wood, James, ed. (1907). Maudsley, Henry, The Nuttall Encyclopædia. London and New York: Frederick Warne.

Further reading[edit]

  • Collie, Michael. Henry Maudsley. Victorian Psychiatrist: A Bibliographical Study, St. Paul's Bibliographies, 1988.
  • Gilbert, Arthur N. "Masturbation and Insanity: Henry Maudsley and the Ideology of Sexual Repression," Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies, Vol. 12, No. 3, 1980.
  • Johnson, J. "Henry Maudsley on Swedenborg's Messianic Psychosis," Br. J. Psychiatry, 165(5), Nov. 1994.
  • Lewis, A. Henry Maudsley: his work and Influence, in The Pathology of Mind: a Study of its Distempers, Deformities and Disorders, Julian Friedmann Publishers, 1979.
  • Mellwain, Henry. Maudsley, Mott and Mann on the Chemical Physiology and Pathology of the Mind; an Inaugural Lecture Delivered at the Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital, London, 14 April 1955, H. K. Lewis, 1955.
  • Rollin, Henry R. "Whatever Happened to Henry Maudsley?," in 150 Years of British Psychiatry, 1841–1991, Gaskell, 1991.
  • Savage, George. “Henry Maudsley,” Journal of Mental Science, Vol. 64, 1918.
  • Scott, Peter. "Pioneers in Criminology. XI. Henry Maudsley (1835–1918)," The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science, Vol. 46, No. 6, Mar. – Apr. 1956.
  • Shorter, E. A History of Psychiatry, John Wiley & Sons, 1997.
  • Turner, T. H. "Henry Maudsley – Psychiatrist, Philosopher and Entrepreneur," Psychol. Med., 18(3), Aug. 1988.
  • Walk, A. "Medico-Psychologists, Maudsley and the Maudsley," Journal of Mental Science, 1976.

External links[edit]

Wikisource logo Works written by or about Henry Maudsley at Wikisource