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30th Jun, 2022

Virtual discussion to reveal dark history of Warwick Asylum

HOW VICTORIANS treated the mentally ill is the focus of a Warwickshire history talk.

The Warwickshire County Record Office is hosting a virtual discussion called ‘Life in the Madhouse: Warwick County Lunatic Asylum on Wednesday April 28, from 8pm to 9pm.

Dealing with those with mental health problems in the Victorian age was severe, partly because they were regarded as bad – and even possessed by the devil in some cases – rather than ill. Patients could be locked away for safety reasons, and gawped at and mocked by visitors. Treatment such as cold baths and electric shocks were gradually introduced – though unlikely to be helpful.

Records held at Warwickshire County Record Office chart the establishment, running and expansion of the asylum which opened in 1852. It was renamed Warwick County Mental Hospital in 1930, and then to Central Hospital in 1948, and finally closed in 1995. Some of the original buildings survive and the whole site is now residential.

Officer Victoria Fuller said: ‘With the record office closed to the public due to covid restrictions, this is a great opportunity for our audiences to learn and see about our fascinating collections virtually. We also have virtual talks planned on the Warwickshire Museums Geology collections and on Austin Healey Cars.”

Visit heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/adultsandyoungpeopleevents to book a place. Tickets cost £3.

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