SCLA - State Criminal Lunatic Asylum

Date Range1816 -
Related Provenance
ControllingBethlem Royal Hospital (1247 - )

A Select Committee of the House of Commons had recommended the erection of a national asylum for criminal lunatics in 1807. In 1810, the Governors of Bethlem, who were at that time planning the building of the third Bethlem Hospital at St George's Fields, were approached by the Secretary of State for the Home Department with a proposal to provide secure accommodation for criminal lunatics in a new wing of the building. An agreement was hammered out over the next four years, in which the Home Department would be responsible for the government of State Criminal Lunatic Asylum, and would pay for the erection of the new wing of the hospital in which it would be housed, and for the maintenance and medical care of patients; and the hospital would provide the requisite facilities, and the majority of its medical personnel and care (all paid for by the state). In effect day-to-day control of the Asylum rested with the Bethlem physician acting in accordance with statute. The two criminal blocks were opened in 1816, and criminal patients were kept entirely isolated from patients in the main hospital. Admission to and discharge from the State Criminal Lunatic Asylum was by warrant of the Secretary of State, and quarterly reports on criminal patients were made to the Secretary of State by the Bethlem physician. Returns continued to be made until the 1880s, despite the transfer of the majority of criminal patients to Broadmoor by 1864, and the subsequent demolition of the wing of the hospital in which they were housed, because a small number of criminal patients were kept at Bethlem Royal Hospital.

SeriesARD  Criminal patient admission registers 1816 - 1864
CBC  Incurable and criminal patient casebooks 1778 - 1864
CDW  Discharge warrants 1817 - 1864
CRW  Reception warrants 1816 - 1864
CSA  Criminal resolutions, correspondence and returns 1810 - 1885
GR  Gaol returns of criminals transferred to Bethlem Royal Hospital 1816 - 1850
SB  Salary books and related records 1777 - 1988

Published by the Bethlem Museum of the Mind, 14 May 2014
Listed by The Archives Team
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Updated 7 May 2024

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