Asy­lum record

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I found the ar­ti­cle on lu­nacy in your July is­sue veryy in­ter­est­ingg as my friends and I – as the EurekA Part­ner­ship – are tran­scrib­ing asy­lum records, among other things. The 1828 Mad­houses Act of Par­lia­ment made it manda­tory for asy­lums to send ad­mis­sion and dis­mis­sion cer­tifi­cates to ei­ther the Clerk to the Metropoli­tan Com­mis­sions on Lu­nacy or, if the asy­lum was out­side Lon­don, to the county clerk. We have found th­ese doc­u­ments with the quar­ter ses­sions records for the two Ox­ford­shire asy­lums at Hook Nor­ton and Wit­ney. They cover a very large area tak­ing pa­tients from Bris­tol, Lon­don, Hamp­shire and War­wick­shire to name but a few. Though there are no cer­tifi­cates for the Great Foster House asy­lum in Egham, the vis­i­tors book, which be­gins in 1774, is also among the quar­ter ses­sions and gives quite full in­for­ma­tion on its in­mates be­fore the county asy­lum was built – please see our list of pub­li­ca­tions. Both sets of records name other asy­lums that pa­tients have stayed in, which may help peo­ple to find an asy­lum where their an­ces­tor may have been sent, so a check in the rel­e­vant quar­ter ses­sions hold­ings may be worth­while. An­gela Hillier, by email Editor replies: Many thanks for that in­for­ma­tion An­gela – it’s use­ful to know that if you can’t find de­tails of an an­ces­tor who was in a lu­natic asy­lum, a search through the quar­ter ses­sions records may reap re­wards. You can find out more about An­gela’s pro­ject on her web­site at eu­reka­part­ner­ship.com.

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