Catalogue description Lunacy Commission and Board of Control: Building of Asylums and Hospitals, Correspondence and Papers

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Details of MH 83
Reference: MH 83
Title: Lunacy Commission and Board of Control: Building of Asylums and Hospitals, Correspondence and Papers

This series contains correspondence and papers of the Lunacy Commission and Board of Control relating to the building of asylums and mental hospitals, including such matters as the purchase of land, contracts for building, planning of the premises etc.

Date: 1845-1954

Arranged alphabetically by order of counties

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Board of Control, 1913-1960

Commissioners in Lunacy, 1845-1913

Physical description: 364 file(s)
Administrative / biographical background:

Until the beginning of the nineteenth century the only refuges for lunatics were charitable institutions which had been founded by private individuals. By 1815 only nine of these were in existence.

Legislation to provide accommodation for the pauper insane out of public monies began with the Acts of Parliament of 1815 and 1828, which empowered certain specially appointed magistrates to erect and maintain asylums out of the County rates.

In 1845 a Lunacy Act made it mandatory for Justices of Counties and Boroughs to provide adequate asylums, earlier legislation having been only permissive. In 1853 an Asylum Act provided that compulsory measures could be taken against any authority neglecting to provide adequate asylums, and in 1888 the Local Government Act transferred this responsibility from the "lunatic justices" to the County and Borough Councils.

On 1st April 1914, when the Board of Control came into being, there were 102 county and borough asylums in England and Wales (including the Metropolitan District asylums). These provided for nearly 110,000 pauper patients.

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