Asylums and Sport: Participation, Isolation and the Role of Cricket in the Treatment of the Insane

Robert Ellis (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Introduction At first glance, the mere thought of cricket in lunatic asylums or mental hospitals seems incongruous.1 There are, it seems, more reasons why the game should not have been played than why it should. For example, cricket can be a complicated game with a range of scoring opportunities, field places and tactics. In addition, while one description of the management of asylums argued that only bats, balls and stumps were ‘absolutely necessary’ to play the game, it is easy to imagine how these ‘appliances’ might be dangerous in the wrong hands.2 Take, for example, the ‘serious attack’ by a patient on Dr Merson, the Superintendent of the Hull Asylum in England. ‘The patient was playing cricket and struck Dr Merson violently on the head with the bat, rendering him unconscious’.3 More prosaically, cricket is a sport that can be punctuated by periods of inactivity, demanding plenty of concentration on the one hand and plenty of time for the mind to wander on the other. And yet sport in general, and cricket in particular, as part of a.....
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Directions in Sport History
EditorsDuncan Stone, John Hughson, Rob Ellis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315722672
ISBN (Print)9781138853638, 9781138057333
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2015

Publication series

NameSport in the Global Society - Historical perspectives

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