Bethlem Royal Hospital


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Bethlem Royal Hospital

The world’s first institution for the insane (popularly known as Bedlam), Bethlem began in 1247 as a priory for the Order of the Star of Bethlehem, from whence its name. It became a hospital in 1337 and began admitting the mentally ill in 1357; some time thereafter, due to dialectic, its name became known as Bedlam.

Bedlam was notorious for the brutal treatment of its inmates; treatment consisted of restraint well into the 19th century. Outpatients were allowed to come and go and licensed to beg; particularly active inpatients were kept from wandering the halls by manacling or chaining them to the floors or walls. They were first dignified with the label of patient in 1700 and parsed into curable and incurable wards in the 1730s; they also provided a source of entertainment for the locals—for a penny, one could go to Bedlam and stare at the patients.

In 1815, Bedlam was moved into more substantial facilities at St George’s Fields, complete with a library, ballroom and windows. It was moved again in 1930 to a London suburb, with the Imperial War Museum taking over the St George’s Fields site.
References in periodicals archive ?
Notably, Gummow J acknowledged that "traditionally, there has been a contractual relationship" (19) and Gaudron and McHugh JJ premised their judgement by stating that "[t]he doctor-patient relationship is contractual in origin" before citing the aforementioned passage from Sidaway v Governors of Bethlem Royal Hospital. (20) Further, the Court was in agreement that, in the absence of a special contract, doctors' duties under contract are limited to advising and treating the patient with "reasonable skill and care." (21) Per Dawson and Toohey JJ: "[e]ssentially, the relationship between doctor and patient is a contractual one whereby the doctor undertakes to treat and advise the patient and to use reasonable skill and care in doing so".
Reform had belatedly put the hospital on a par with its peers; and from then on it acquired the image of a conventional superior psychiatric establishment, culminating in 1880 in the adoption of the name Bethlem Royal Hospital.
The Wellcome Collection's current exhibition approaches the subject with a focus on the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London, founded in 1247.
After stabbing his father he was committed to Bethlem Royal Hospital, and then to Broadmoor Asylum, where he remained until his death.
Bennett, 24, escaped on Wednesday after being allowed to exercise in the grounds of Bethlem Royal Hospital, Beckenham, Kent, where he was to be assessed.