The development of the Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum and Mental Hospital

Jones, Denzil (2017) The development of the Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum and Mental Hospital. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the establishment and development of the Glamorgan County Lunatic Asylum (later Mental Hospital) in the context of provision generally in England and Wales. From the early nineteenth century there was increasing interest in dealing with the plight of people with a mental illness including legislation to set up asylums at a cost to public funds. There was initial optimism that, provided a patient was admitted early enough, there was a good chance of recovery but in practice the numbers admitted to public and private institutions overwhelmed limited provision. In 1845 Quarter Sessions were compelled to establish public asylums. Increasingly they became overcrowded due to a lack of cures and the propensity for families to admit chronically ill relatives. In the eyes of many they became ‘custodial’ rather than ‘curative’ institutions and legislation in 1890 emphasised the legalistic nature of such provision. No change was introduced until 1930 when a number of reforms were introduced including the concept of a ‘voluntary patient’. The Glamorgan Asylum at Angelton, Bridgend, did not open until 1864 and the reasons for the delay are examined together with an assessment of the provision made in its absence. Once established it was soon full and after many years of deliberation an additional facility was opened in 1887 a few miles away at Parc Gwyllt. Overcrowding led to Cardiff and Swansea County Borough Councils setting up their own asylums in 1908 and 1932 respectively. Some medical progress was made in the latter part of the nineteenth century and early twentieth and Cardiff Mental Hospital, with its newer facilities and no overcrowding, was in the forefront of developments while Glamorgan with its older premises and less forward looking staff together with financial restrictions fared less well. The context for these themes is set out in the literature review in the first chapter and the subsequent five chapters deal with developments over the period down to 1930. 60,494 words

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lunatic asylums, Glamorgan (Wales)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Sandra Stedman
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2018 15:24
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2018 15:24
URI: http://repository.uwtsd.ac.uk/id/eprint/765

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