Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum

Broadmoor Revealed: Victorian Crime and the Lunatic Asylum - Mark Stevens Wow! If you are interested in psychiatric history, the Victorian era, or true crime, this book is for you.Archivist Mark Stevens works with the Berkshire Records Office and thus has access to the case histories of Broadmoor's inmates, its governors and more. This book is a sampling of case studies (including that of painter Richard Dadd, whose works hang in the Tate Gallery, and William Minor, a major contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary), births in the asylum and various escape attempts.Stevens brings both the concept of "moral treatment" (an idea developed by English Quakers to help mental health patients, which sounds like something far different from what it is) and the life of asylum patients into the light for readers in a way that is interesting and compassionate. "Moral treatment" involved nutritious food, rest and useful work at the level that each patient was able to manage.Broadmoor not only had mental health patients but also prisoners, and there were some management issues between the two very different populations. Attempts by Broadmoor's governors to deal with those issues are detailed.Stevens provides a lovely annotated bibliography at the end of this book so that readers may see the original documents on patients, the asylum's history, etc., from which he worked.I have already recommended this outstanding source to people with an interest in the subject matter, and have no doubt that I will continue to do so with regularity.