This series contains registers kept by the Lunacy Commission, 1846 to 1921, of asylum patients in both public and private asylums. They record the name and sex of the patient; the name of hospital, asylum, or licensed house; and the date of admission and of discharge or death of each patient.
Prior to 1808, asylums were privately run, and an act in 1808 provided for the funding of county asylums. Not many were built though, and many of the poor with mental illness and the criminally insane were still kept prisons and workhouses. Those with the means made arrangements for mentally ill family members in private “madhouses.”
In 1845, the Lunacy Act and County Asylum Act obligated counties to build county asylums for the poor and criminally insane and established the Lunacy Commission to oversee both private and public asylums. Metropolitan licensed houses were private institutions in cities, and provincial licensed houses were private institutions outside cities. County asylums and hospitals could be located in either place but were administered by the county.
Note: Due to privacy restrictions, only records through 1921 are currently available in this collection.