The Asylum, the Poor Law, and a Reassessment of the Four-Shilling Grant

Admissions to the County Asylums of Yorkshire in the Nineteenth Century

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In the mid-1870s, the British government introduced a grant that transferred a proportion of the cost of asylum care from local to central funds. Typically, this has been seen by contemporary and more recent commentators as part of the explanation for the therapeutic failure of the County and Borough Asylums, and for their degeneration into custodial institutions. Building on recent work on the Poor Law, the aim of this article is to reassess the impact of the grant using both quantitative and qualitative evidence. Contrasting the records of two County Asylums with the annual reports of the Lunacy Commissioners, it shows that there is little evidence to suggest that the grant was responsible for a change in either the size or composition of the asylum population. Ultimately, it argues that the admission of patients in general, and the admission and discharge of chronic cases in particular, rested with longer-term factors than simply the introduction of one fiscal incentive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-71
Number of pages17
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006

Fingerprint

Organized Financing
Annual Reports
Patient Admission
Financial Management
Motivation
Costs and Cost Analysis
Population
Admission
Yorkshire
Poor Law
Therapeutics

Cite this

@article{03e22e6e19b945fe80845057cb5b6146,
title = "The Asylum, the Poor Law, and a Reassessment of the Four-Shilling Grant: Admissions to the County Asylums of Yorkshire in the Nineteenth Century",
abstract = "In the mid-1870s, the British government introduced a grant that transferred a proportion of the cost of asylum care from local to central funds. Typically, this has been seen by contemporary and more recent commentators as part of the explanation for the therapeutic failure of the County and Borough Asylums, and for their degeneration into custodial institutions. Building on recent work on the Poor Law, the aim of this article is to reassess the impact of the grant using both quantitative and qualitative evidence. Contrasting the records of two County Asylums with the annual reports of the Lunacy Commissioners, it shows that there is little evidence to suggest that the grant was responsible for a change in either the size or composition of the asylum population. Ultimately, it argues that the admission of patients in general, and the admission and discharge of chronic cases in particular, rested with longer-term factors than simply the introduction of one fiscal incentive.",
keywords = "County Asylum, Hereditary, History of psychiatry, Insanity, Lunacy, Poor Law; 1874, Yorkshire",
author = "Robert Ellis",
year = "2006",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1093/shm/hkj008",
language = "English",
volume = "19",
pages = "55--71",
journal = "Social History of Medicine",
issn = "0951-631X",
publisher = "Oxford University Press",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Asylum, the Poor Law, and a Reassessment of the Four-Shilling Grant

T2 - Admissions to the County Asylums of Yorkshire in the Nineteenth Century

AU - Ellis, Robert

PY - 2006/4/1

Y1 - 2006/4/1

N2 - In the mid-1870s, the British government introduced a grant that transferred a proportion of the cost of asylum care from local to central funds. Typically, this has been seen by contemporary and more recent commentators as part of the explanation for the therapeutic failure of the County and Borough Asylums, and for their degeneration into custodial institutions. Building on recent work on the Poor Law, the aim of this article is to reassess the impact of the grant using both quantitative and qualitative evidence. Contrasting the records of two County Asylums with the annual reports of the Lunacy Commissioners, it shows that there is little evidence to suggest that the grant was responsible for a change in either the size or composition of the asylum population. Ultimately, it argues that the admission of patients in general, and the admission and discharge of chronic cases in particular, rested with longer-term factors than simply the introduction of one fiscal incentive.

AB - In the mid-1870s, the British government introduced a grant that transferred a proportion of the cost of asylum care from local to central funds. Typically, this has been seen by contemporary and more recent commentators as part of the explanation for the therapeutic failure of the County and Borough Asylums, and for their degeneration into custodial institutions. Building on recent work on the Poor Law, the aim of this article is to reassess the impact of the grant using both quantitative and qualitative evidence. Contrasting the records of two County Asylums with the annual reports of the Lunacy Commissioners, it shows that there is little evidence to suggest that the grant was responsible for a change in either the size or composition of the asylum population. Ultimately, it argues that the admission of patients in general, and the admission and discharge of chronic cases in particular, rested with longer-term factors than simply the introduction of one fiscal incentive.

KW - County Asylum

KW - Hereditary

KW - History of psychiatry

KW - Insanity

KW - Lunacy

KW - Poor Law; 1874

KW - Yorkshire

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33645574129&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/shm/hkj008

DO - 10.1093/shm/hkj008

M3 - Article

VL - 19

SP - 55

EP - 71

JO - Social History of Medicine

JF - Social History of Medicine

SN - 0951-631X

IS - 1

ER -