Bethlem Hospital And St Luke's

The chief point of interest in the subject to which this chapter has

reference, centres in the questions where and what was the provision

made for the insane in England at the earliest period in which we can

discover traces or their custody?

Many, I suppose, are familiar with the fact of the original foundation

in 1247 of a Priory in Bishopsgate Street, for the Order of St. Mary of

Bethlem, but few are aw
re at what period it was used for the care or

confinement of lunatics, and still fewer have any knowledge of the form

of the building of the first Bethlem Hospital--the word "Bethlem" soon

degenerating into Bedlam.

Before entering upon the less known facts, I would observe that an

alderman and sheriff of London, Simon FitzMary, gave in the thirty-first

year of the reign of Henry III., 1247, to the Bishop and Church of

Bethlem, in Holyland, all his houses and grounds in the parish of St.

Botolph without Bishopsgate, that there might be thereupon built a

Hospital or Priory for a prior, canons, brethren, and sisters of the

Order of Bethlem or the Star of Bethlem, wherein the Bishop of Bethlem

was to be entertained when he came to England, and to whose visitation

and correction all the members of the house were subjected.[57]

The following is the wording of the original grant, slightly

abridged:--"To all the children of our Mother holy Church, to whom this

present writing shall come, Simon, the Son of Mary, sendeth greeting in

our Lord, ... having special and singular devotion to the Church of the

glorious Virgin at Bethelem, where the same Virgin brought forth our

Saviour incarnate, and lying in the Cratch,[58] and with her own milk

nourished; and where the same child to us being born, the Chivalry of

the Heavenly Company sange the new hymne, Gloria in excelsis Deo ... a

new Starre going before them. In the Honour and Reverence of the same

child, and his most meek mother, and to the exaltation of my most noble

Lord, Henry King of England, ... and to the manifold increase of this

City of London, in which I was born: and also for the health of my soul,

and the souls of my predecessors and successors, my father, mother and

my friends, I have given, and by this my present Charter, here, have

confirmed to God, and to the Church of St. Mary of Bethelem, all my

Lands which I have in the Parish of St. Buttolph, without Bishopsgate of

London, ... in houses, gardens, pools, ponds, ditches, and pits, and all

their appurtenances as they be closed in by their bounds, which now

extend in length from the King's high street, East, to the great Ditch,

in the West, the which is called Depeditch; and in breadth to the lands

of Ralph Dunnyng, in the North; and to the land of the Church of St.

Buttolph in the South; ... to make there a Priory, and to ordain a Prior

and Canons, brothers and also sisters, who in the same place, the Rule

and Order of the said Church of Bethelem solemnly professing, shall bear

the Token of a Starre openly in their Coapes and Mantles of profession,

and for to say Divine Service there, for the souls aforesaid, and all

Christian souls, and specially to receive there, the Bishop of Bethelem,

Canons, brothers, and messengers of the Church of Bethelem for ever

more, as often as they shall come thither. And that a Church or Oratory

there shall be builded, as soon as our Lord shall enlarge his grace,

under such form, that the Order, institution of Priors, &c. to the

Bishop of Bethelem and his successors shall pertain for evermore.... And

Lord Godfrey, Bishop of Bethelem, into bodily possession, I have

indented and given to his possession all the aforesaid Lands; which

possession he hath received, and entered in form aforesaid.

"And in token of subjection and reverence, the said place in London

shall pay yearly a mark sterling at Easter to the Bishop of Bethelem.

"This gift and confirmation of my Deed, & the putting to of my Seal for

me and mine heirs, I have steadfastly made strong, the year of our Lord

God, 1247, the Wednesday after the Feast of St. Luke the Evangelist."

From this it appears that Simon Fitzmary's land extended from the King's

Highway on the east (Bishopsgate Street without) to the fosse called

Depeditch on the west. The land of Saint Botolph Church bounded it on

the south, and the property of a Ralph Dunnyng on the north. The author

of "The History of St. Botolph" (1824), Mr. T. L. Smartt, suggests that

the old White Hart Tavern is a vestige of the hostelry. If not forming

part of the original hospital, it certainly led to it. Among the tokens

in the British Museum I find "Bedlem Tokens E.{K.}E. at Bedlam Gate,

1657," and the "Reverse at the White Hart." At an early period Bethlem

is styled "Bethlem Prison House," and the patients, "who sometimes

exceeded the number of twenty," are called prisoners. One token at the

British Museum is G.{H.}A. "at the Old Prison."

A considerable portion of this site is occupied at the present day by

Liverpool Street, and the railway stations which have sprung up there.

The topographer in search of the old site finds striking proofs of the

changes which six hundred years have brought with them--the steam, and

the shrill sounds of the Metropolitan, North London, and Great Eastern

Railways; while Bethlem Gate, the entrance to the hospital from

Bishopsgate Street, was, when I last visited the spot, superseded by

hoardings covered with the inevitable advertisement of the paper which

enjoys the largest circulation in the world. Depeditch is now Bloomfield

Street. The name of Ralph Dunnyng, whose property is mentioned in the

charter as bounding Bethlem on the north, is, I suppose, represented,

after the lapse of six centuries, by Dunning's Alley and Place.

There was a churchyard on the property, which was enclosed for the use

of adjoining parishes by Sir Thomas Rowe, Lord Mayor of London, at a

much later period (1569)--no doubt the ground where the inmates were

buried. The Broad Street Railway Station booking-office is situated upon

part of its site. In connection with this, I may refer to a statement in

Mr. Buckland's "Curiosities of Natural History," to the effect that a

skeleton, on which fetters were riveted, was found in 1863, in St. Mary

Axe, by some workmen engaged in excavations. Mr. Buckland states, on the

authority of Mr. Hancock, that Sir Thomas Rowe gave ground in St. Mary

Axe, for the use of Old Bethlem Hospital and certain adjoining parishes.

Mr. Buckland, therefore, concluded that the skeleton was that of a man

who had been a patient in Bedlam, and buried in his chains. He was on

one occasion good enough to place them at my disposal, but as I can find

no evidence that Sir T. Rowe did more than what I have above stated, I

think there is no connection proved between the skeleton in irons and


In this churchyard was buried Lodowick Muggleton--an appropriate

resting-place, considering its proximity to a mad-house. Also John

Lilburne; four thousand persons, it is said, attending his funeral.

Mr. Roach Smith, who formerly lived in Liverpool Street, informs me that

on one occasion an incident proved the former existence of a

burial-ground on this spot. He writes, "Opposite my house (No. 5) on the

other side of the street was a long dead wall, which separated the

street from a long piece of garden-ground which faced some high houses

standing, probably, on the site of Bedlam. This garden may have stood on

the burial-ground. When my man buried in it a deceased favourite cat, he

said he came upon the remains of human skeletons. But revolution brought

about the disturbance of the cat which had disturbed some of old

London's people. A few years since the cat's coffin and her epitaph were

brought before the directors of a railway as a very puzzling discovery."

The engineers of the North London and Great Eastern Railways inform me

that many bones were dug up in excavating for the Broad Street and

Liverpool Street Stations.

The locality of the first Bethlem Hospital is, I hope, now clearly

before the reader. I will describe the form of the buildings shortly,

but will first trace the history of the convent to the time of Henry


In the year 1330, eighty-three years after its foundation, it is

mentioned as a "hospital," in a licence granted by King Edward III., to

collect alms in England, Ireland, and Wales, but it must not be

inferred from this that it was necessarily used for the sick, as the

word hospital was then, and long after, employed as "a place for shelter

or entertainment" (Johnson). It is so employed by Spencer in the "Faerie


"They spy'd a goodly castle plac'd

Foreby a river in a pleasant dale,

Which chusing for that evening's Hospital

They thither march'd."

Very shortly after this, viz. in 1346, the monastery or hospital was so

miserably poor that the master applied to the mayor, aldermen, and

citizens of London to be received under their protection. This was

agreed to, and it was governed afterwards by two aldermen, one chosen by

the mayor and the other by the monastery.

Then we come to an important event--the seizure of Bethlem by the Crown.

This was in 1375, the forty-eighth year of Edward III. It was done on

the pretext that it was an alien or foreign priory. There was not

therefore any seizing of the monastery by Henry VIII., as is usually

stated. That had been done already. The master of Bethlem stated at this

time that the annual value of the house was six marks; and that he paid

13s. 4d. a year to the Bishop of Bethlem, and 40s. rent to the Guildhall

for the benefit of the City. Disputes afterwards arose between the Crown

and the City as to their right to appoint the master of the house, but

the former triumphed, and Richard II., Henry IV., Henry VI., and Henry

VIII. insisted upon and exercised their right of presentation.

It appears that the City had let some house to the hospital for which

they received rent. And further, that afterwards, when disputes arose,

they actually pretended that the hospital itself was originally theirs.

I now call attention to the year 1403, the fourth year of Henry IV. It

seems that Peter, the porter of the house, had misbehaved himself in

some way, and it was deemed sufficiently important to necessitate an

"inquisition," to ascertain the condition and management of the

monastery. And it is here that we meet with the earliest indication of

Bethlem being a receptacle for the insane. I have examined the Report of

this Royal Commission, and find it stated that six men were confined

there who were lunatics (sex homines mente capti). The number,

therefore, was very small at that time. As might be expected, the

glimpse we get of their mode of treatment reveals the customary

restraints of former days. The inventory records "Six chains of iron,

with six locks; four pairs of manacles of iron, and two pairs of

stocks." I do not here, or elsewhere, find any reference to the use of

the whip. I may remark, by the way, that the Commissioners observe that

whereas originally the master of the house wore the Star of the Order of

Bethlem, the master at that time did not. The original star contained

sixteen points, which we may consider to indicate, appropriately, the

words Estoile de Bethlem.

On the arms of Bethlem[59] was also a basket of bread, in reference to

the Hebrew etymology, "House of Bread." The bread is described as

wastell cake, a word first met with in a statute 51 Hen. III., where it

is described as white bread well baked.

Chaucer says of the "Prioress"--

"Of small houndes hadde she, that she fedde

With roasted flesh, and milk and wastel brede."

Shakespeare," is from gasteau, now gateau, anciently written gastel,

and, in the Picard dialect, ouastel or watel, a cake.

I would here draw attention to the site of St. Martin's Lane, and the

adjoining district. At the southwest corner of St. Martin's Lane, in the

angle formed by it and Charing Cross, was situated a religious (?)

house, of the foundation of which I can discover nothing. The point of

interest to us in connection with it is this: that at a very early

period lunatics were confined there. Stow, in his "Survey of London,"

etc., written in 1598, says, under "The Citie of Westminster," "From

thence is now a continuall new building of diuers fayre houses euen up

to the Earle of Bedford's house lately builded nigh to Iuy Bridge, and

so on the north side, to a lane that turneth to the parish church of S.

Martin's in the Field, in the liberty of Westminster. Then had ye an

house, wherein some time were distraught and lunatike people, of what

antiquity founded, or by whom, I have not read, neither of the

suppression; but it was said that some time a king of England, not

liking such a kind of people to remaine so neare his pallace, caused

them to be removed further off to Bethlem without Bishopsgate of London,

and to that Hospitall the said house by Charing Crosse doth yeth


I have spent considerable time in endeavouring to discover who this king

was, but without success. If we assume that this was the first time that

Bethlem received lunatics within its walls, we must refer the event to a

date prior to 1403, because we know, as I have pointed out, that there

were mad people in Bethlem at that date. One statement is that the

sovereign was Henry IV., and that is not improbable, but it may have

been Richard II. Whoever the king was, he appears to have been rather

fastidious, considering the proximity is not very close between Charing

Cross and any of the Royal Palaces. Possibly, as the Royal "Mewse" was

at Charing Cross, his Majesty, whenever he visited his falcons, which

were "mewed" or confined here--long before the same place was used for

stables--may have been disturbed by the sounds he heard.[61] It is

interesting in this connection to learn that Chaucer was clerk of the

Charing Cross Mews. On the site of the Mews stands now the National

Gallery, and the house for lunatics must have been situated in Trafalgar

Square, about where Havelock's equestrian statue stands.

Here I may note also, on the same authority, that there was in Edward

III.'s reign (1370) a hospital founded in the parish of Barking by

Robert Denton, "chaplen," "for the sustentation of poor Priests and

other men and women that were sicke of the Phrenzie, there to remaine

till they were perfectly whole and restored to good memorie."[62] I know

nothing further of this asylum. It must remain an undetermined question

whether there were any lunatics in Bedlam prior to the establishment of

the houses at Charing Cross and Barking. As, however, both these were

devoted to their exclusive care, and Bethlem at that period was not, I

think we must grant their priority as special houses for deranged


It will be observed that in the passage cited from Stow, the house at

Charing Cross is described as belonging to Bethlem Hospital. I have

ascertained that the Charing Cross property belonged to Bethlem Hospital

until 1830, when it was sold or exchanged in order to allow of the

improvements which were shortly afterwards made there in laying out

Trafalgar Square and building the National Gallery.

We know, then, that from about 1400--probably earlier--Bethlem received

lunatics, on however small a scale; and we have here an explanation of

the fact which has occasioned surprise, that before the time of the

charter of Henry VIII., whose name is inscribed over the pediment of the

existing building, the word "Bedlam" is used for a madman or mad-house.

Thus Tyndale made use of the word some twenty years before the royal

grant in his "Prologue to the Testament," a unique fragment of which

exists in the British Museum, where he says it is "bedlam madde to

affirme that good is the natural cause of yvell."

Speaking of Wolsey, Skelton, who died in 1529, says in his "Why come ye

not to Court?"--

"He grinnes and he gapes,

As it were Jacke Napes,

Such a mad Bedlam."

The familiar expression "Jackanapes" is evidently a corruption of the

above. The term occurs in "The Merry Wives of Windsor": "I vill teach a

scurvy jackanape priest to meddle or make."[63] The origin of the phrase

in Jack-o'naibs, a Saracen game of cards, seems doubtful. Any way, it

came to be used for a witless fellow, or Bedlamite.

And Sir Thomas More, in his treatise "De Quatuor Novissimis," says,

"Think not that everything is pleasant that men for madness laugh at.

For thou shalt in Bedleem see one laugh at the knocking of his own hed

against a post, and yet there is little pleasure therein." And, again,

in the "Apology" made by him in 1533 (thirteen years before the grant),

in which he gives a most curious account of the treatment of a poor

lunatic: He was "one which after that he had fallen into these frantick

heresies, fell soon after into plaine open franzye beside. And all beit

that he had therefore bene put up in Bedelem, and afterward by beating

and correccion gathered his remembraance to him and beganne to come

again to himselfe, being thereupon set at liberty, and walkinge aboute

abrode, his old fansies beganne to fall againe in his heade." Although

what follows has nothing to do with Bethlem, I cannot avoid quoting it,

as it illustrates so graphically the whipping-post treatment of that

day. "I was fro dyvers good holy places advertised, that he used in his

wandering about to come into the churche, and there make many mad toies

and trifles, to the trouble of good people in the divine service, and

specially woulde he be most busye in the time of most silence, while the

priest was at the secretes of the masse aboute the levacion." After

proof of his indecent behaviour, he proceeds, "Whereupon I beinge

advertised of these pageauntes, and beinge sent unto and required by

very devout relygious folke, to take some other order with him, caused

him, as he came wanderinge by my doore, to be taken by the connstables

and bounden to a tree in the streete before the whole towne, and ther

they stripped [striped] him with roddes therefore till he waxed weary

and somewhat lenger. And it appeared well that hys remembraunce was

goode ineoughe save that it went about in grazing [wool-gathering!] til

it was beaten home. For he coulde then verye wel reherse his fautes

himselfe, and speake and treate very well, and promise to doe afterward

as well." Sir Thomas More ends with this delicious sentence:--"And

verylye God be thanked I heare none harme of him now."[64]

To return to Bethlem Hospital. I can discover nothing of interest in

regard to it between 1403 and 1523; except, indeed, that I observe in

the "Memorials of London," 1276-1419, a man was punished for pretending

to be a collector for the hospital of "Bedlem," in 1412. He was to

remain for one hour of the day in the pillory, the money-box he had used

being "in the mean time placed and tied to his neck." At the date

mentioned above, 1523, Stephen Jennings, merchant taylor, previously

Lord Mayor of London, gave a sum of money in his will towards the

purchase of the patronage of Bethlem Hospital. Three and twenty years

later (1546) the citizens of London are said to have purchased "the

patronage thereof, with all the lands and tenements thereunto

belonging." But there is no evidence that they did give any money for

this patronage. Sir John Gresham, the Lord Mayor, petitioned the king in

this year to grant Bethlem Hospital to the City; and the king did grant

it along with St. Bartholomew's Hospital, on condition that the City

should expend a certain amount of money on new buildings in connection

with the latter. It is only in this sense, I believe, that they

"purchased" Bethlem Hospital; and further, it must be understood that

the City obtained the patronage or government only, and not the freehold

of the premises, although in process of time the Crown ceased to claim

or possess any property in the hospital.

In the indenture of the covenant made 27th December, 1546, between the

King and the City of London granting St. Bartholomew's Hospital and

Bethlem, there is no mention of appropriating the latter to the use of

lunatics (for this, as we have seen, had been done already), but it is

simply said "the king granted to the said citizens that they and their

successors should thenceforth be masters, rulers, and governors of the

hospital or house called Bethlem, and should have the governance of the

same and of the people there, with power to see and to cause the rents

and profits of the lands and possessions of the same hospital to be

employed for the relief of the poor people there, according to the

meaning of the foundation of the same, or otherwise as it should please

the king for better order to devise." The charter was granted on the

13th of January, 1547. The King died on the 29th. The value of the

estate at this period is said to have been L504 12s. 11d.[65]

I wish to reproduce here the form of the buildings of Bethlem (or, as we

ought now to designate it, Bethlem or Bethlehem Royal Hospital) at the

time of Henry VIII., and for long before and after that time. I have, I

believe, consulted every important map of old London, and have found it

no easy task to obtain a clear notion of the appearance of the building

at that period. No print of the first hospital is in existence; at

least, I have never been able to find it, or met with any one who has

seen it. I believe, however, that a good idea of the premises can be

formed from a study of the map of London by Agas, made not very long

after the death of Henry VIII. (1560), and now in the Guildhall, where

its careful examination has been facilitated by Mr. Overall, the

Librarian. From it I have represented an elevation of the hospital (see

engraving), which will, I believe, convey a fairly correct notion of the

extent and character of the premises. I am gratified to know that the

reader will see as distinct a representation of the first Bethlem as can

be framed from the old maps--the real old Bedlam of Sir Thomas More, of

Tyndale, and Shakespeare. Shakespeare, I may here say, uses the word

Bedlam six times. It will be seen there is a rectangular area surrounded

by buildings. In the centre is the church of the hospital. This was

taken down in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and other buildings erected

in its place.

The oldest written description of any portion of the building which is

extant mentions "below stairs a parlour, a kitchen, two larders, a long

entry [corridor] throughout the house, and twenty-one rooms wherein the

poor distracted people lie; and above the stairs eight rooms more for

servants and the poor to lie in."[66]

It will be observed that there was a gate on the west side, and another

on the east.

From Agas.] [Page 60.]

A map of ancient London was reconstructed, with great ingenuity and

labour, by the late Mr. Newton, 1855. But his reconstruction of Bethlem

and its surroundings contains several inaccuracies which have been

avoided in the accompanying view. The church in the quadrangle differs

completely from that given in Agas; and Newton fails to recognize the

character of the gate and its crenelated tower on the east side. There

appear to have been, at the time of Agas, no buildings on the west side

of the quadrangle, but in Braun and Hogenberg's or Stilliard's map,

there are houses not represented in the engraving. I must express my

great obligation to Mr. J. E. Gardner, of London, as also to Mr. J. B.

Clark, for the assistance rendered me in this attempt to recover the

outlines of the premises comprised under the true Old Bethlem.[67]

Eight years after the death of Henry VIII. (1555)--the second year of

Philip and Mary--it was ordered that the governors of Christ's Hospital

should be charged with the oversight and government of Bethlem, and

receive the account of rents, etc., instead of the City chamberlain; but

this arrangement lasted only a short time, for in September, 1557,

another change was made, and the management was transferred to the

governors of Bridewell (which had been given to the City by Edward VI.

in 1553), subject, of course, to the jurisdiction of the citizens. The

same treasurer was appointed for both. This union of the hospitals was

confirmed by the Act 22 Geo. III., c. 77, and continues, as is well

known, to the present day. It was not until this act passed that the

paramount authority of the City ceased, and the government now in

force was established, by which it was distinctly vested in a

president, treasurer, the Court of Aldermen, and the Common Council, and

an unlimited number of governors, elected by ballot. So that now the

only sense in which Bethlem continues to belong to the City is that the

aldermen and common councilmen are ex-officio governors. As there are

at the present time upwards of two hundred governors, they are in a

decided minority.[68]

Time was when Bethlem Hospital did not possess the magnificent income

which she now enjoys. She knew, as we have seen, what poverty meant; and

even if we make due allowance for the increased value of money we can

hardly read without surprise that in 1555 the income from all the

possessions of the hospital only amounted to L40 8s. 4d. Of course,

considerable sums were collected as alms. Nearly a century after, the

valuation of real estates showed an annual value of L470. Several

annuities had also been bequeathed, as that of Sir Thomas Gresham in

1575, for "the poor diseased in their minds in Bethlem."

The revenues, however, fell far short of the requirements of the

hospital--namely, about two-thirds of the yearly charge--and at a court

held in 1642 preachers were directed to preach at the Spital of St.

Mary, in Bishopsgate Street, informing the public of the need of

pecuniary help, and exciting them to the exercise of charity.

Again, in 1669 a deputation waited on the Lord Mayor to acquaint him

with the great cost of Bethlem, and to request that no patient should be

sent until the president was informed, in order that he might fix on the

weekly allowance, and obtain some security of payment.

I need not say that since the period to which I refer, the income of

Bethlem Hospital has, in consequence of gifts, and the enormously

greater value of house property in London, been immensely increased, and

that what with its annuities, its stocks of various kinds, and its

extensive estates, it is to-day in the position of doing, and without

doubt actually does, an immense amount of good.

Half a century after Henry VIII.'s death, Bethlem Hospital was reported

to be so loathsome as to be unfit for any man to enter. There were then

twenty patients. I do not know, however, that any action was taken in

consequence. Thirty-four years afterwards (1632), I observe that the

buildings were enlarged, and mention is made of "one messuage, newly

builded of brick at the charge of the said hospital, containing a

cellar, a kitchen, a hall, four chambers, and a garret, being newly

added unto the old rooms." Also, "a long waste room now being contrived

and in work, to make eight rooms more for poor people to lodge where

there lacked room before."[69]

In 1624, and I dare say at many other periods, the patients were so

refractory that it was necessary to call in the flax-dressers, whose

tenter-boards may be seen in the adjoining field in the maps of London

of this period, in order to assist the keepers in their duties!

Just about the same date (1632) I notice that an inquisition mentions

various sums being expended on fetters and straw. The governor at that

time, I should add, was a medical man. This is the first mention of such

being the case. His name was Helkins or Hilkiah Crooke. He was born in

Suffolk; graduated M.B. in 1599 and M.D. in 1604. He was a Fellow of the

College of Physicians, and was author of "A Description of the Body of

Man," etc. (1616). There is in the second edition of this work a small

whole-length portrait by Droeshout.[70]

Ten years later (1642) there was a still further addition to Bethlem.

Twelve rooms were built on the ground floor, over which there were eight

for lunatics. The hospital, however, only accommodated some fifty or

sixty patients, and it is observed in "Stow's Survey of London," that

besides being too small to receive a sufficient number of distracted

persons of both sexes, it stood on an obscure and close place near to

many common sewers.

The hospital was one day visited by Evelyn. He had been dining with Lord

Hatton, and writes on returning: "I stepped into Bedlam, where I saw

several poor miserable creatures in chains; one of them was mad with

making verses." This was on the 21st of April, 1657. Pepys does not

record a single visit to it himself, but on February 21, 1668, he enters

in his diary that "the young people went to Bedlam."[71]

Smith, in his "Ancient Topography of London," says--and the authority

for most of his statements was Mr. Haslam[72]--"The men and women in old

Bethlem were huddled together in the same ward." It was only when the

second Bethlem was built that they had separate wards.

In Hollar's Map of London, engraved 1667, which gives the most distinct

representation of Bethlem Hospital at that period, there are no

additional buildings given, although we know they had been made. Nor are

those inserted which were built on the site of the church in the centre

of the quadrangle.

I have in the previous chapter spoken of Bedlam beggars, and would add

here that they are represented as wearing about their necks "a great

horn of an ox in a string or bawdry, which when they came to an house

for alms, they did wind, and they did put the drink given them into

their horn, whereto they did put a stopple." This description by

Aubrey[73] illustrates "Poor Tom, thy horn is dry!" in "King Lear." So

in Dekker's "English Villanies" (1648) the Abram-man is described as

begging thus: "Good worship master! bestow you reward on a poor man who

hath been in Bedlam without Bishopsgate three years, four months, and

nine days, and bestow one piece of small silver towards his fees which

he is indebted there of L3 13s. 7-1/2d. (or to such effect), and hath

not wherewith to pay the same but by the help of worshipful and

well-disposed people, and God to reward them for it." "Then," adds

Dekker, "will he dance and sing, and use some other antic and ridiculous

gestures, shutting up his counterfeit puppet play with this epilogue or

conclusion--'Good dame, give poor Tom one cup of the best drink. God

save the king and his Council, and the governor of this place.'"

Bedlam beggars were so great a nuisance, even in 1675, that the

governors gave the following public notice:--"Whereas several vagrant

persons do wander about the City of London and Countries, pretending

themselves to be lunaticks, under cure in the Hospital of Bethlem

commonly called Bedlam, with brass plates about their arms, and

inscriptions thereon. These are to give notice, that there is no such

liberty given to any patients kept in the said Hospital for their cure,

neither is any such plate as a distinction or mark put upon any lunatick

during their time of being there, or when discharged thence. And that

the same is a false pretence to colour their wandering and begging, and

to deceive the people, to the dishonour of the government of that


I will now pass on to the close of the chapter of this the first Bethlem

Hospital, with the remark in passing that Charles I. confirmed the

charter of Henry VIII. in 1638,[75] and will direct attention to the

year 1674, when the old premises having become totally unfit for the

care--to say nothing of the treatment--of the inmates, it was decided to

build another hospital. The City granted a piece of land on the north

side of London Wall, extending from Moor Gate, seven hundred and forty

feet, to a postern opposite Winchester Street, and in breadth eighty

feet--the whole length of what is now the south side of Finsbury Circus.

At the present time the corner of London Wall and Finsbury Pavement,

Albion Hall, and the houses to the east, mark this spot, the grounds in

front of the hospital being, of course, situated in what is now Finsbury


Smith's plates, in his "Ancient London," show the back and west wing of

the asylum very well; and an elevation showing its front, which looked

north towards what is now the London Institution, is represented in an

engraving frequently met with in the print shops. Circus Place now runs

through what was the centre of the building. The building, intended for

a hundred and twenty patients (but capable of holding a hundred and

fifty), was commenced in April, 1675, and finished in July of the

following year, at a cost of L17,000. It was five hundred and forty feet

long by forty feet broad.

Of this building, Gay wrote--

"Through fam'd Moorfields, extends a spacious seat,

Where mortals of exalted wit retreat;

Where, wrapp'd in contemplation and in straw,

The wiser few from the mad world withdraw."

Evelyn thus records his visit to the new hospital: "1678, April 18. I

went to see New Bedlam Hospital, magnificently built, and most sweetly

placed in Moorfields since the dreadful fire in London."[76]

"Sweetly" was not an appropriate term to use, as it proved, for it was

built on the ditch or sewer on the north side of London Wall, and this

circumstance led to the foundations ultimately proving insecure, not to

say unsavoury.

As the hospital was opened in 1676, it is noteworthy that it is now more

than two centuries since the first large asylum[77] was built for the

sole object of providing for the insane in England. This is the building

in Moorfields so familiar to our forefathers for nearly a century and a

half, and known as Old Bethlem by print-dealers, and, indeed, by almost

every one else; for the memories and traditions of the genuine Old

Bethlem, which I have endeavoured to resuscitate, have almost faded

away. Indeed, in 1815, when one of the physicians of the hospital (Dr.

Monro) was asked, at the Select Committee of the House of Commons,

whether there had not been such a building, he replied that he did not


Let me bring before the reader the condition of Moorfields in those

days. Finsbury was so called from the fenny district in which it lay.

Skating was largely practised here. In the old maps Finsbury fields lie

on the north-east side of Moorfields. Now Finsbury Circus and Square

correspond to the site of a part of Moorfields. Formerly Moorfields

extended up to Hoxton, "but being one continued marsh, they were in 1511

made passable by proper bridges and causeways. Since that time the

ground has been gradually drained and raised."[78]

It was a favourite resort for archers. An association called the Archers

of Finsbury was formed in King Edward I.'s time. There is an old book on

archery, entitled "Ayme for Finsbury Archers," 1628. An anonymous poem

in blank verse, published in 1717, entitled "Bethlem Hospital,"

attributed to John Rutter, M.A., contains the following lines, referring

to the appropriation of the ground for drying clothes:--

"Where for the City dames to blaunch their cloaths,

Some sober matron (so tradition says)

On families' affairs intent, concern'd,

At the dark hue of the then decent Ruff

From marshy or from moorish barren grounds,

Caused to be taken in, what now Moorfields,

Shaded by trees and pleasant walks laid out,

Is called, the name retaining to denote,

From what they were, how Time can alter things.

Here close adjoining, mournful to behold

The dismal habitation stands alone."

The following is the description of the building given by Smith in his

"Ancient Topography of London":--"The principal entrance is from the

north, of brick and freestone, adorned with four pilasters, a circular

pediment, and entablature of the Corinthian Order. The King's arms are

in the pediment, and those of Sir William Turner above the front centre

window.... It certainly conveys ideas of grandeur. Indeed it was for

many years the only building which looked like a palace[79] in London.

Before the front there is a spacious paved court, bounded by a pair of

massy iron gates, surmounted with the arms of the Hospital. These gates

hang on two stone piers, composed of columns of the Ionic Order, on

either side of which there is a small gate for common use. On the top of

each pier was a recumbent figure, one of raving, the other of melancholy

madness, carved by Caius Gabriel Cibber. The feeling of this sculptor

was so acute, that it is said he would begin immediately to carve the

subject from the block, without any previous model, or even fixing any

points to guide him. I have often heard my father say that his master,

Roubiliac, whenever city business called him thither, would always

return by Bethlem, purposely to view these figures" (p. 32).

Under an engraving of these figures, drawn by Stothard, are the lines:--

"Bethlemii ad portas se tollit dupla columna;

#Heikona ton entos cho lithos ektos echei.#

Hic calvum ad dextram tristi caput ore reclinat,

Vix illum ad laevam ferrea vinc'la tenent.

Dissimilis furor est Statuis; sed utrumque laborem

Et genium artificis laudat uterque furor."

Lustus Westmonasteriensis.

Pope, in the "Dunciad," thus spitefully refers to them in connection

with the sculptor's son, Colley Cibber, the comedian:--

"Close to those walls where Folly holds her throne,

And laughs to think Monro would take her down,

Where o'er the gates by his famed father's hand

Great Cibber's brazen,[80] brainless brothers stand."

Nettled at being made the brother of two madmen, Cibber retaliated in a

philippic upon Pope, which it is said (with what truth I know not)

hastened his death.[81] It was entitled "A letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr.

Pope, wherein the New Hero's Preferment to his Throne in the 'Dunciad'

seems not to be accepted, and the Author of that Poem His more rightful

claim to it is asserted.

----'Remember Sauney's Fate,

Bang'd by the Blockhead whom he strove to beat.'

Parodie on Lord Roscommon.

London, MDCCXLIV." And certainly Pope died a few months after, May,

1744. It is, however, highly improbable that he would in the slightest

degree care for this letter, though he might suffer some remorse for his

spiteful attack on so good-natured a fellow. Cibber says in this letter

that people "allow that by this last stale and slow endeavour to maul

me, you have fairly wrote yourself up to the Throne you have raised, for

the immortal Dulness of your humble servant to nod in. I am therefore

now convinced that it would be ill-breeding in Me to take your seat,

Mr. Pope. Nay, pray, Sir, don't press me!... I am utterly conscious

that no Man has so good a Right to repose in it, as yourself. Therefore,

dear, good good Mr. Pope, be seated!... Whether you call me Dunce or

Doctor, whether you like me, or lick me, contemn, jerk, or praise me,

you will still find me the same merry Monarch I was before you did me

the Honour to put yourself out of Humour about me," etc.

These figures, now banished to South Kensington Museum, and there

incarcerated at the top of the building, and only seen by special

permission, are, of course, quite unsuitable for the entrance of the

hospital, but I would plead for their being placed somewhere in Bethlem,

their natural habitat. As works of art, the governors and officers

cannot but be proud of them. I suppose, however, their banishment is

intended as a public protest against the old system of treatment which

one of them exhibits, and from this point of view is no doubt

creditable. I would here observe that the figure of the maniac is

superior to that of the melancholiac, whose expression is rather that of

dementia than melancholia. I think that when Bacon, in 1820, repaired

this statue, he must have altered the mouth, because, in the engraving

by Stothard, this feature, and perhaps others, are more expressive.

At Bethlem Hospital there were also certain gates called the "penny

gates," and on each side of them was a figure of a maniac--one a male,

the other a female. "They are excellently carved in wood, nearly the

size of life, have frequently been painted in proper colours, and bear

other evidence of age. It is reported they were brought from Old

Bethlem. In tablets over the niches in which they stand, is the

following supplication:--'Pray remember the poor Lunaticks and put your

Charity into the Box with your own hand.'"[82]

There was a portrait of Henry VIII. in the hospital, which was also said

to have been brought from the first Bethlem. A portrait is now in the

committee-room of the hospital.

The "penny gates" refer, no doubt, to the custom of allowing Bethlem to

be one of the sights of the metropolis, the admission of any one being

allowed for a penny, by which an annual income of at least L400 was

realized. The practice was discontinued in 1770. This amount is,

however, probably exaggerated, as it is difficult to believe that 96,000

persons visited the hospital in the course of the year. Ned Ward,

however, from whom I shall shortly quote, says the fee was 2d. in his

time. If so, 48,000 may be about correct.

In the "Rake's Progress," Hogarth represents two fashionable ladies

visiting this hospital as a show-place, while the poor Rake is being

fettered by a keeper. The doctor, I suppose, is standing by. The

deserted woman who has followed him in his downward course to the

hospital is by his side. The expression of the Rake has been said to be

a perfect representation of

"Moody madness laughing wild, amid severest woe."

A maniac lying on straw in one of the cells is a conspicuous figure.

There is a chain clearly visible.

In another cell is a man who believes himself a king, and wears a crown

of straw.

An astronomer has made himself a roll of paper for a telescope, and

imagines that he is looking at the heavens. The patient near him has

drawn on the wall the firing off a bomb, and a ship moored in the

distance. Ireland, in his notes on "Hogarth," says it was to ridicule

Whiston's project for the discovery of the longitude, which then

attracted attention, and had sent some people crazy. Then there is a mad

musician with his music-book on his head; a sham pope; and a poor man on

the stairs "crazed with care, and crossed by hopeless love," who has

chalked "Charming Betty Careless" upon the wall. One figure looks like a

woman, holding a tape in her hands, but is intended for a tailor.[83]

There is in Mr. Gardner's collection a print representing the interior

of one of the wards of Bethlem about the year 1745, when the hospital,

therefore, was in Moorfields. There are manacles on the arms of a

patient who is lying on the floor, but there are none on the legs, as

represented in Hogarth. With this interior, kindly placed at my disposal

by Mr. Gardner, the reader can compare an interior of the existing

institution, from a photograph, for the use of which I am indebted to

the present medical superintendent, Dr. Savage. The artist of the former

picture has evidently aimed at giving as pleasant an impression as

possible of the care bestowed on the inmates of Bethlem, but the

contrast is an interesting commentary on the past and present

appearance of an asylum gallery.

Print in Mr. Gardner's collection.] [Page 74.]

From a Photograph.] [Page 74.]

In a poem bearing the title of "Bedlam," and dated 1776, the writer,

after bestowing praise on the building, adds:--

"Far other views than these within appear,

And Woe and Horror dwell for ever here;

For ever from the echoing roofs rebounds

A dreadful Din of heterogeneous sounds:

From this, from that, from every quarter rise

Loud shouts, and sullen groans, and doleful cries;

* * * * *

Within the chambers which this Dome contains,

In all her 'frantic' forms, Distraction reigns:

* * * * *

Rattling his chains, the wretch all raving lies,

And roars and foams, and Earth and Heaven defies."

Ned Ward, in his "London Spy," gives a graphic account of his visit with

a friend to Bedlam:--"Thus," he says, "we prattled away our time, till

we came in sight of a noble pile of buildings, which diverted us from

our former discourse, and gave my friend the occasion of asking me my

thoughts of this magnificent edifice. I told him I conceived it to be my

Lord Mayor's palace, for I could not imagine so stately a structure to

be designed for any quality interior; he smiled at my innocent

conjecture, and informed me this was Bedlam, an Hospital for mad folks.

In truth, said I, I think they were mad that built so costly a college

for such a crack-brained society; adding, it was a pity so fine a

building should not be possessed by such who had a sense of their

happiness: sure, said I, it was a mad age when this was raised, and the

chief of the city were in great danger of losing their senses, so

contrived it the more noble for their own reception, or they would never

have flung away so much money to so foolish a purpose. You must

consider, says my friend, this stands upon the same foundation as the

Monument, and the fortunes of a great many poor wretches lie buried in

this ostentatious piece of vanity; and this, like the other, is but a

monument of the City's shame and dishonour, instead of its glory; come,

let us take a walk in, and view its inside. Accordingly we were admitted

in thro' an iron gate, within which sat a brawny Cerberus, of an

Indico-colour, leaning upon a money-box; we turned in through another

Iron-Barricado, where we heard such a rattling of chains, drumming of

doors, ranting, hollowing, singing, and running, that I could think of

nothing but Don Quevedo's Vision, where the lost souls broke loose and

put Hell in an uproar. The first whimsey-headed wretch of this lunatic

family that we observed, was a merry fellow in a straw cap, who was

talking to himself, 'that he had an army of Eagles at his command,' then

clapping his hand upon his head, swore by his crown of moonshine, he

would battle all the Stars in the Skies, but he would have some

claret.... We then moved on till we found another remarkable figure

worth our observing, who was peeping through his wicket, eating of bread

and cheese, talking all the while like a carrier at his supper, chewing

his words with his victuals, all that he spoke being in praise of bread

and cheese: 'bread was good with cheese, and cheese was good with bread,

and bread and cheese was good together;' and abundance of such stuff;

to which my friend and I, with others stood listening; at last he

counterfeits a sneeze, and shot such a mouthful of bread and cheese

amongst us, that every spectator had some share of his kindness, which

made us retreat."[84]

Many other dialogues with the inmates of Bedlam are given, but they are

evidently embellished, or altogether fictitious; true as I believe the

description of the building and the uproar within to be.

Mr. Harvey, from his recollections of the hospital in Moorfields, in the

early part of this century, thus writes in 1863: "When I remember

Moorfields first, it was a large, open quadrangular space, shut in by

the Pavement to the west, the hospital and its outbuildings to the

south, and lines of shops with fronts, occupied chiefly by dealers in

old furniture, to the east and north. Most of these shops were covered

in by screens of canvas or rough boards, so as to form an apology for a

piazza; and if you were bold enough, in wet weather, you might take

refuge under them, but it was at the imminent risk of your purse or your

handkerchief. It was interesting to inspect the articles exposed for

sale: here a cracked mirror in a dingy frame, a set of hair-seated

chairs, the horse-hair protruding; a table, stiff, upright easy chairs,

without a bottom, etc. These miscellaneous treasures were guarded by

swarthy men and women of Israel, who paraded in front of their narrow

dominions all the working day, and if you did but pause for an instant,

you must expect to be dragged into some hideous Babel of frowsy

chattels, and made a purchaser in spite of yourself. Escaping from this

uncomfortable mart to the hospital footway, a strange scene of utter

desertion came over you; long, gloomy lines of cells, strongly barred,

and obscured with the accumulated dust, silent as the grave, unless

fancy brought sounds of woe to your ears, rose before you; and there, on

each side of the principal entrance, were the wonderful effigies of

raving and moping madness, chiselled by the elder Cibber. How those

stone faces and eyes glared! How sternly the razor must have swept over

those bare heads! How listless and dead were those limbs, bound with

inexorable fetters, while the iron of despair had pierced the hearts of

the prisoned maniacs!"[85]

It was in 1733 that two wings were added for incurable patients, but

this proved insufficient in the course of time; and in 1793 an adjoining

plot of ground was obtained, and more accommodation provided. Only six

years later, however, surveyors appointed to inspect the premises

reported that the hospital was dreary, low, melancholy, and not well

aired; and in 1804 the condition of the building was so dangerous that

it was resolved to admit no more patients except those already

petitioned for.[86] As the asylum had been built upon the ancient ditch

of the city, a large portion of the foundation was insecure. Serious

settlements had taken place, and rendered it necessary to underpin the

walls.[87] When one looks at the palatial building represented in

engravings, one feels some surprise to find it described as so low and

dreary; but doubtless it was quite time to erect another asylum, and

seek a better and more open site.

I do not propose to enter upon the revelations made as to the internal

condition of Bethlem Hospital by the investigations of the Committee of

the House of Commons in 1815;[88] many are familiar with the prints

exhibited at this Committee, of poor Norris who was secured by chains as

there represented, consisting of (1) a collar, encircling the neck, and

confined by a chain to a pole fixed at the head of the patient's bed;

(2) an iron frame, the lower part of which encircled the body, and the

upper part of which passed over the shoulders, having on either side

apertures for the arms, which encircled them above the elbow; (3) a

chain passing from the ankle of the patient to the foot of the bed.

As to the treatment pursued at this time at Bethlem, the pith of it is

expressed in one sentence by Dr. T. Monro in his evidence before the

Committee. He had been visiting physician since 1783. "Patients," he

says, "are ordered to be bled about the latter end of May, according to

the weather; and after they have been bled, they take vomits, once a

week for a certain number of weeks; after that we purge the patients.

That has been the practice invariably for years long before my time; it

was handed down to me by my father, and I do not know any better

practice." If in all this we are disposed to blame Bethlem, let us still

more condemn the lamentable ignorance and miserable medical red-tapism

which marked the practice of lunacy in former times.

I may here remark that, prior to the Monros, Dr. Thomas Allen[89] was,

in 1679, visiting physician to Bethlem, and that, as I have observed

already, Helkins Crooke (1632) was the first medical man who is known to

have been at the head of this hospital. Dr. Tyson was physician from

1684 to 1703. Mr. Haslam was appointed resident apothecary in 1795, and

in 1815 gave evidence before the Committee of the House of Commons. At

that time he said there were a hundred and twenty-two patients; "not

half the number," he stated, "which we used to have." For these there

were three male and two female keepers: the former assisting the latter

when the female patients were refractory. Ten patients, he said, were at

that moment in chains, and we may be sure that the number was much

larger before public feeling had been aroused to demand investigation.

"The ultimatum of our restraint," said Mr. Haslam, "is manacles, and a

chain round the leg, or being chained by one arm; the strait waistcoat,

for the best of reasons, is never employed by us." Mr. Haslam, when

asked whether a violent patient could be safely trusted when his fist

and wrists were chained, replied, "Then he would be an innoxious

animal." Patients, however, were frequently chained to the wall in

addition to being manacled.

A brief reference here to Dr. Allen and Dr. Tyson will not be out of


"To his [Dr. Allen's] credit let it be recorded," says Dr. Munk, "that

he refused to accede to a proposition which had met with general

approbation at the Royal Society (of which he was himself a Fellow), to

make the first experiment of the transfusion of blood in this country

'upon some mad person in Bedlam.'" He died in 1684.

Dr. Edward Tyson, F.R.S., was the author of various works, but none on

mental disease. His portrait is in the College. He died in 1708, aged

58, and was buried in St. Dionys Backchurch, where there is a monument

to his memory. He is the Carus of Garth's Dispensary.[90]

"In his chill veins the sluggish puddle flows,

And loads with lazy fogs his sable brows;

Legions of lunaticks about him press,

His province is lost Reason to redress."

Of the family whose hereditary connection with Bethlem is so remarkable,

it should be chronicled that Dr. James Monro was elected physician to

Bethlem, 1728; he died 1752. His son describes him as "a man of

admirable discernment, who treated insanity with an address that will

not soon be equalled." Dr. John Monro succeeded his father in this post.

"He limited his practice almost exclusively to insanity, and in the

treatment of that disease is said to have attained to greater eminence

and success than any of his contemporaries. In January, 1783, while

still in full business, he was attacked with paralysis.... His vigour,

both of body and mind, began from that time to decline. In 1787 his son,

Dr. Thomas Monro, was appointed his assistant at Bethlem Hospital, and

he then gradually withdrew from business."[91] He died in 1791, aged 77.

He was the author of "Remarks on Dr. Battie's Treatise on Madness,

1758." Dr. Thomas Monro was appointed physician to Bethlem in 1792, and

held that office till 1816; he died 1833, aged 73. His son, Dr. Edward

Thomas Monro, succeeded him.

We now arrive at the close of the second Act in the drama of the Royal

Hospital of Bethlehem. The scene of Act the Third is laid in St.

George's Fields. The area of land covered about twelve acres. Provision

was made for two hundred patients. In 1810 an Act of Parliament was

obtained (50 Geo. III., c. 198), by which the City was authorized to

grant the property to trustees for the governors of the hospital, for

the purpose of erecting a new one on an enlarged scale--on lease for

eight hundred and sixty-five years, at a yearly rent of 1s. The

Corporation entered upon the spot occupied by the old hospital in

Moorfields. The first stone was laid in St. George's Fields in April,

1812, and it was opened August, 1815, consisting of a centre and two

wings, the frontage extending five hundred and ninety-four feet. "The

former has a portico, raised on a flight of steps, and composed of six

columns of the Ionic order, surmounted by their entablature, and a

pediment in the tympanum on which is a relief of the Royal arms. The

height to apex is sixty feet." There is the following inscription:


The funds were derived from the following sources:--

L s. d.

Grant from Parliament 72,819 0 6

Benefactions from Public Bodies 5,405 0 0

Private Individuals 5,709 0 0

Amount of Interest upon Balances in hand 14,873 4 8

Contributed from funds of Hospital 23,766 2 3


L122,572 7 5

Even in this new building, opened before the conclusion of the labours

of the Select Committee of the House of Commons, 1815-16, the windows of

the patients' bedrooms were not glazed, nor were the latter warmed; the

basement gallery was miserably damp and cold; there was no provision for

lighting the galleries by night, and their windows were so high from the

ground that the patients could not possibly see out, while the

airing-courts were cheerless and much too small. Such was the

description given by a keen observer, Sydney Smith, from personal


Additional buildings were erected in 1838, the first stone being laid

July 26th of that year, when a public breakfast was given at a cost of

L464; and a narrative of the event at a cost of L140; a generous outlay

of charitable funds! We may be quite sure that no one who breakfasted at

Bethlem on this occasion had any reason to be reminded of Sir Walter

Scott's observation in a letter dated March 16, 1831: "I am tied by a

strict regimen to diet and hours, and, like the poor madman in Bedlam,

most of my food tastes of oatmeal porridge."

Of the site of the third Bethlem Hospital a few words will suffice. The

notorious tavern called "The Dog and Duck" was here, and there is still

to be seen in the wall to the right of the entrance to the hospital a

representation in stone of the dog, with the neck of a duck in its

mouth. It bears the date of 1716. In Mr. Timbs' "London" it is misstated

1617. Doubtless in olden time there was a pond here, for a duck hunt was

a common sport, and brought in much custom to the inn. After the Dog and

Duck, this site was occupied by a blind school, pulled down in 1811.

Shakespeare makes the Duke of York say in "Henry VI.":--

"Soldiers, I thank you all; disperse yourselves;

Meet me to-morrow in Saint George's Fields."

2 Henry VI., Act v. sc. 1.

The only other reference in Shakespeare to this locality indicates that

in his time there was a Windmill Inn in St. George's Fields, for he

makes Shallow say to Falstaff--

"O, Sir John, do you remember since we lay all night in the

Windmill, in Saint George's Fields?"--2 Henry IV., Act iii.

sc. 2.

The subsequent history of Bethlem Royal Hospital; the considerable

improvements which succeeded the investigation; the inquiry and

admirable Report of the Charity Commissioners in 1837, from which it

appears that at that time some of the patients were still chained, and

that the funds of Bethlem had been to no slight extent appropriated to

personal uses; its exemption from the official visitation of asylums

required by the Act of Parliament passed in 1845 (8 and 9 Vict., c.

100);[93] the unsatisfactory condition of the institution as revealed by

the investigations made in 1851 (June 28 to December 4); the placing of

the hospital in 1853 in the same position as regards inspection as other

institutions for the insane (16 and 17 Vict., c. 96); the sweeping away

of the old regime, and the introduction of a new order of things--the

great lesson to be learned from this history being, as I think, the

necessity of having lunatic asylums open to periodical visitation--and

last, but not least, the establishment of a Convalescent Hospital at

Witley within the last few years;--these important events I must content

myself with merely enumerating, but I cannot close this chapter without

expressing the satisfaction with which I regard the present management

of the hospital, all the more striking when we recall some of the past

pages of its history; nor can I avoid congratulating the resident

physician and the other officers of the institution upon this result.


To the foregoing account of Bethlem Hospital it is necessary to add a

brief reference to that of St. Luke's, which, in consequence of the

insufficiency of Bethlem, was established in 1751, by voluntary

subscription, and was situated on the north side of Upper

Moorfields,[94] opposite Bethlem Hospital, in a locality called Windmill

Hill, facing what is now Worship Street. It is stated that pupils were

allowed to attend the hospital in 1753. It appears that Dr. Battie, the

physician to the hospital, who also had a private asylum, was the first

in London to deliver lectures on mental diseases. He wrote "A Treatise

on Madness," in 1758, and in this work censured the medical practice

pursued at Bethlem. He was warmly replied to by Dr. John Monro, in a

book entitled "Remarks on Dr. Battie's 'Treatise on Madness.'" His

"Aphorismi de Cognoscendis et Curandis Morbis nonnullis ad Principia

Animalia accommodati" appeared in 1762. In 1763 he was examined before

the House of Commons as to the state of private mad-houses in England.

In April, 1764, he resigned, dying in 1776, from a paralytic stroke. His

character was described by Judge Hardinge, as follows:--"Battius, faber

fortunae suae, vir egregiae fortitudinis et perseverantiae, medicus

perspicax, doctus et eruditus integritatis castissimae, fideique in

amicitiis perspectae."

Dr. Battie did not escape satire:--[95]

"First Battus came, deep read in worldly art,

Whose tongue ne'er knew the secrets of his heart;

In mischief mighty, tho' but mean of size,

And like the Tempter, ever in disguise.

See him, with aspect grave and gentle tread,

By slow degrees approach the sickly bed;

Then at his Club behold him alter'd soon--

The solemn doctor turns a low Buffoon,

And he, who lately in a learned freak

Poach'd every Lexicon and publish'd Greek,

Still madly emulous of vulgar praise,

From Punch's forehead wrings the dirty bays."

Dr. Munk, to whose "Roll of the Royal College of Physicians" we are

indebted for these particulars, adds, "Eccentricity was strongly marked

throughout the whole of Dr. Battie's career; many strange and curious

anecdotes concerning him are on record," and he quotes from Nichol's

"Literary Anecdotes" (vol. i. p. 18, et seq.) the following:--"He was

of eccentric habits, singular in his dress, sometimes appearing like a

labourer, and doing strange things. Notwithstanding his peculiarities,

he is to be looked upon as a man of learning, of benevolent spirit,

humour, inclination to satire, and considerable skill in his


In 1782 a new building was erected on a site formerly known as "The

Bowling Green," where St. Luke's now stands, in Old Street. It cost

L50,000, extended four hundred and ninety-three feet, and, although

built on the same plan as the former building, was a great improvement.

It was opened January 1, 1787; the patients, one hundred and ten in

number, having been removed from the first hospital.

Elmes says, "There are few buildings in the metropolis, perhaps in

Europe, that, considering the poverty of the material, common English

clamp-bricks, possess such harmony of proportion, with unity and

appropriateness of style, as this building. It is as characteristic of

its uses as that of Newgate, by the same architect" (George Dance,


"Immediately behind this hospital is Peerless Pool, in name altered from

that of 'Perillous Pond,' so called, says old Stow, from the numbers of

youths who had been drowned in it in swimming." So writes Pennant in his

"London," and adds that "in our time [1790] it has, at great expense,

been converted into the finest and most spacious bathing-place now

known; where persons may enjoy this manly and useful exercise with

safety. Here is also an excellent covered bath, with a large pond

stocked with fish, a small library, a bowling green, and every innocent

and rational amusement; so that it is not without reason that the

proprietor hath bestowed on it the present name."[97]

St. Luke's never got into ill repute like Bethlem. The investigation of

the House of Commons' Committee of 1815 did not reveal many abuses. If,

however, its condition at that period were compared with the

well-managed institution of to-day, the result would be a very

gratifying one. Thus, seventy years ago, the author of the "Description

of the Retreat," while preparing it, visited St. Luke's and discuss