Bedlam’s history goes online
Patient and staff records from one of the world’s most famous psychiatric hospitals have been made available to search via findmypast.co.uk.
Digitised following a partnership with the new Bethlem Museum of the Mind, the 248,000-strong record collection provides a detailed account of life at London’s Royal Bethlem Hospital – better known as ‘Bedlam’.
Spanning 1683 to 1932, the varied collection includes admission registers, patient casebooks, discharge lists, death registers and staff salary books.
Fully searchable, each record is linked to a high-resolution scan of the original document, in some cases also offering a photograph of an ancestor who would have been regarded a ‘ lunatic’ at the time.
“These records provide, for the very first time online, a real insight into life in this infamous institution,” said Debra Chatfield, family historian at Findmypast. “It’s hard not to empathise with the inmates as you learn about their often harrowing and tragic stories.”
Bedlam’s second site at Moorfields, 1810