Wil­liam Tuke, Founder Of The York Re­treat

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - FOCUS ON -

A mem­ber of the So­ci­ety of Friends had a huge im­pact on im­prove­ments to the treat­ment of pa­tients

Born in York in 1732, Wil­liam Tuke was the son of a weaver and hosier, whose fam­ily was well-known for be­ing early mem­bers of the So­ci­ety of Friends. Af­ter a good ed­u­ca­tion, Wil­liam was ap­pren­ticed to his aunt at the age of 19, work­ing in the whole­sale tea and cof­fee trade, later in­clud­ing co­coa. This re­mained his busi­ness through­out his work­ing life.

Wil­liam was a keen phi­lan­thropist, cam­paign­ing for the abo­li­tion of the slave trade, help­ing to found sev­eral Quaker schools and be­ing ac­tive in the Bi­ble So­ci­ety. In 1790 a Quaker named Han­nah Mills was ad­mit­ted to the York Lu­natic Asy­lum. Friends were re­fused per­mis­sion to visit her, and she died soon af­ter in squalid con­di­tions. This shocked the So­ci­ety

of Friends, es­pe­cially Wil­liam who vowed that Quak­ers with a ‘loss of rea­son’ should never suf­fer like this again. He re­solved to build an asy­lum es­pe­cially for them, and won the So­ci­ety of Friends’ sup­port.

It was Wil­liam’s en­ergy and vi­sion that saw the project through. He vis­ited St Luke’s in Lon­don where he saw a naked fe­male pa­tient chained to a wall, an ex­pe­ri­ence that haunted him. When the So­ci­ety of Friends’ York Re­treat opened in 1796, the con­di­tions were hu­mane with min­i­mal phys­i­cal re­straint; this be­came known as ‘moral treat­ment’, and greatly in­flu­enced re­form­ers of pub­lic asy­lums. Wil­liam died in 1822, but his grand­son and great grand­son con­tin­ued his work. The Re­treat still ex­ists to­day: there­treaty­ork.org.uk.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.