Skip to main content
  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2021

Civilian Lunatic Asylums During the First World War

A Study of Austerity on London's Fringe

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

  • Provides the first book-length study of the experiences of civilian patients in asylums during the First World War

  • Explores the effects of wartime austerity and deprivation on the provision of care across four London asylums

  • Draws extensively on archival and published sources to reveal the impact of medical, scientific, political, cultural and social change on civilian asylums

  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Mental Health in Historical Perspective (MHHP)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction: Civilians, Lunacy and the First World War

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 1-29Open Access
  3. Infrastructure: Rules, Walls, Obstacles and Opportunities

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 31-71Open Access
  4. Certified Insane: Concepts and Practices

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 73-116Open Access
  5. Personnel: Staffing the Asylums and Serving the Colours

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 117-146Open Access
  6. Food, Farm and Fuel: An Inequitable Supply Chain

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 147-172Open Access
  7. Patients and Their Daily Life

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 173-211Open Access
  8. Difficult Diseases: Tuberculosis and Other Infections

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 213-237Open Access
  9. Accidents, Injuries, Escapes and Suicides

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 239-261Open Access
  10. Shackles and Chains: Some Concluding Thoughts

    • Claire Hilton
    Pages 263-278Open Access
  11. Back Matter

    Pages 279-294

About this book

This open access book explores the history of asylums and their civilian patients during the First World War, focusing on the effects of wartime austerity and deprivation on the provision of care. While a substantial body of literature on ‘shell shock’ exists, this study uncovers the mental wellbeing of civilians during the war. It provides the first comprehensive account of wartime asylums in London, challenging the commonly held view that changes in psychiatric care for civilians post-war were linked mainly to soldiers’ experiences and treatment. Drawing extensively on archival and published sources, this book examines the impact of medical, scientific, political, cultural and social change on civilian asylums. It compares four asylums in London, each distinct in terms of their priorities and the diversity of their patients. Revealing the histories of the 100,000 civilian patients who were institutionalised during the First World War, this book offers new insights into decision-making and prioritisation of healthcare in times of austerity, and the myriad factors which inform this.

Keywords

  • Shell shock
  • Soldiers
  • Madness
  • Welfare austerity
  • Institutional care
  • Hospitals
  • Patient experiences
  • Napsbury
  • Colney Hatch
  • Claybury
  • Hanwell
  • Standards of care
  • Open Access

Reviews

“This book will appeal to historians of medicine and psychiatry, those who study the First World War, doctors in policy roles and management, as well as to a lay audience of readers who have an interest in mental health, family history and the war itself.”
-          Edgar Jones, Professor of the History of Medicine & Psychiatry, King’s College London, UK

"Managers and leaders in the present day health service would do well to read this excellent history of the treatment of mentally ill civilians during the First World War. There are many useful insights here which point the way to the prospect of change for the better." 
-         Cheryl Brook, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Portsmouth

Authors and Affiliations

  • Centre for the History of Emotions, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

    Claire Hilton

About the author

Claire Hilton is a Research Affiliate at the Centre for the History of Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, UK. She is author of Improving Psychiatric Care for Older People: Barbara Robb’s Campaign, 1965-1975 (Palgrave, 2019), which was shortlisted for the 2018 RHS Whitfield Prize.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Civilian Lunatic Asylums During the First World War

  • Book Subtitle: A Study of Austerity on London's Fringe

  • Authors: Claire Hilton

  • Series Title: Mental Health in Historical Perspective

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54871-1

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: History, History (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2021

  • License: CC BY

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-030-54870-4

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-54873-5

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-030-54871-1

  • Series ISSN: 2634-6036

  • Series E-ISSN: 2634-6044

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIX, 294

  • Number of Illustrations: 12 b/w illustrations, 11 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Social History, History of Medicine, History of Britain and Ireland, Psychiatry

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)