Bethlem Hospital: A Study in Contrast


Bethlem Royal Hospital of London (1860)

founded 1330

The Ignorance of Stigma

… you find yourself in a long and wide gallery, on either side of which are a large number of little cells where lunatics of every description are shut up, and you can get a sight of these poor creatures, little windows being let into the doors. On holidays numerous persons of both sexes, but belonging generally to the lower classes, visit this hospital and amuse themselves watching these unfortunate wretches, who often give them cause for laughter. On leaving this melancholy abode, you are expected by the porter to give him a penny but if you happen to have no change and give him a silver coin, he will keep the whole sum and return you nothing.

                                        -Account of Bethlem during 1725 tour of London’s sights.

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