Talk:Bethlem Royal Hospital

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An inaccuracy?[edit]

I am reading a theatre play from 1622, the Changeling, and there is a place similar to Bedlam, very likely to have been taken up from the real one, and there is a passage mentioning "patients" as well as "daily visitants" who were looking at the madmen for fun. This would render the first dates of mentioning the former (18th century) and latter respectively (19th century) questionable. Malej 19:28, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Just a different possible inaccuracy. The first footnote link to a journal discussing the possible madness or insanity of Jesus, rather than the playwright or the quote the footnote is attached to. 92.234.30.143 (talk) 06:45, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Cite supports the Nathaniel Lee quote. But it's derived from Porter, so probably better to use that if it's to be retained. The paragraph as it is is confused. FiachraByrne (talk) 00:35, 29 October 2012 (UTC)
Public visitations certainly had begun by early 17th century and possibly by late 16th century FiachraByrne (talk) 01:41, 1 November 2012 (UTC)
Public visits almost certainly by 1590s. Should have some account of prevalence of Bethlem/Bedlam in Jacobean plays. Also really need to account for term Bedlam. FiachraByrne (talk) 22:05, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Picking up books this week[edit]

  • Edward Geoffrey O'Donoghue, The Story of Bethlem Hospital from its Foundation in 1247 (London, 1914).
  • Charles Webster (ed), Health, Medicine and Mortality in the Sixteenth Century (Cambridge, 1979).
  • David Russell, Scenes from Bedlam: A History of Caring for the Mentally Disordered at Bethlem Royal Hospital and the Maudsley (London, c. 1997).
  • Jonathan Andrews et al., The History of Bethlem (London, 1997).
  • Patricia Allderidge, The Bethlem Royal Hospital: an Illustrated History (London, 1995).
  • Jonathan Barry and Collin Jones (eds), Medicine and Charity before the Welfare State (London, 1991).

FiachraByrne (talk) 02:06, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

Only got the two key ones in the end. Andrews et al. and Allderidge chapter in Webster. FiachraByrne (talk) 22:02, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Tom O'Bedlams[edit]

Cut section:

In the early modern period it was widely believed that patients discharged from Bethlem Hospital were licensed to beg, though in 1675 the Governors denied this.[1] They were known as Abraham-men or Tom o' Bedlam. They usually wore a tin plate on their arm as a badge and were also known as Bedlamers, Bedlamites, or Bedlam Beggars. In William Shakespeare's King Lear, the Earl of Gloucester's son Edgar takes the role of a Bedlam Beggar in order to remain in England unnoticed after banishment. Whether any were ever licensed is uncertain. There were probably far more who claimed falsely to have been inmates than were ever admitted to the hospital.

FiachraByrne (talk) 00:30, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

Bedlamites certainly existed but unclear if they had any but symbolic relationship to institution.FiachraByrne (talk) 22:01, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

Relevance of The Curtain inclusion[edit]

The distance between the original Bishopsgate site and the site of the Curtain is somewhat over a kilometer. You must have a rather strong arm to be able to throw a stone that distance! More to the point, is there any connection between the two, beyond the Shakespearean references above? Is it demonstrable, perhaps, that Robert Armin, whose house was close to Bedlam, had any relationship with the hospital? There was much else in the area too. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 94.5.142.222 (talk) 21:33, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

The point about the distance of Bethlem from those theatres is a fair one and the wording could be changed. Also, the image caption is currently unsourced, although presumably Andrews et al. 1997 and Hattori 1995 could be used. However, the connection between those theatres and Bethlem is sourced insofar as their proximity to the asylum is offered as one of two possible explanations for the staging of Bethlem in theatrical productions from the late 16th century onwards. Following an admittedly cursory search I can't find any reference in the literature linking Armin to Bethlem. FiachraByrne (talk) 12:44, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

Removed clean-up tag[edit]

Removed clean-up tag as I couldn't find any text omitted by the use of internal comments [1]. FiachraByrne (talk) 14:07, 29 September 2014 (UTC)


1816 - 1930?[edit]

The article speaks of the Parlament inquiry of 1815-16, notes that Tomas Monro resigned due to scandal...and then goes on to mention that the hospital moved in 1930. There is no mention of what happened at Bedlam in response to the inquiry, or anything else that might have happened over the span of more than a century. Surely, there must have been a reaction, and other things must have happened. 85.229.60.8 (talk) 10:25, 13 December 2014 (UTC)

Well, you're right, 1815 inquiry and scandal was pivotal in Bethlem; by about mid-19thC it had essentially become a private and quite up-market asylum. Just never got around to writing the end of the article I'm afraid. FiachraByrne (talk) 14:35, 7 April 2015 (UTC)