Bethlem Hospital, popularly known as "Bedlam", is a unique institution. Now seven hundred and fifty years old, it has been continuously involved in the care of the mentally ill in London since at least the 1400s. As such it has a strong claim to be the oldest foundation in Europe with an unbroken history of sheltering and treating the mentally disturbed. During this time, Bethlem has transcended locality to become not only a national and international institution, but in many ways, a cultural and literary myth.
The History of Bethlem is a scholarly history of this key establishment by distinguished authors, including Asa Briggs and Roy Porter. Based upon extensive research of the hospital's archives, the book looks at Bethlem's role within the caring institutions of London and Britain, and provides a long overdue re-evaluation of its place in the history of psychiatry.

chapter 1|7 pages


part |1 pages

PART I: 1247-1633

chapter 2|10 pages


chapter 4|19 pages

The development of the Bethlem precinct

chapter 5|13 pages

Politics and patronage

chapter 6|12 pages

Bethlem's income

chapter 10|12 pages

Images of Bedlam

part |1 pages

PART II: 1633-1783

part |1 pages

PART III: 1783-1900

chapter 21|16 pages

Fact and fancy

chapter 24|28 pages

Bethlem and reform

chapter 25|20 pages


chapter 26|28 pages

Classifying and consoling

chapter 27|20 pages

A Victorian institution

part |1 pages

PART V: Appendices