The (un)dress of the mad poor in England, c.1650-1850. Part 2

Hist Psychiatry. 2007 Jun;18(70 Pt 2):131-56. doi: 10.1177/0957154X06067246.


The second part of this paper assesses how far the dominant imagery of the (un)dress of the mad poor, found in the literary, medical and representational sources discussed in Part 1, corresponds with actual conditions and provisions for the poor insane as revealed in institutional and documentary sources. This is necessarily attempted through a selective sample of sources, in particular clothing procurement for the poor insane as chronicled in parochial records. More especially, the documentary accuracy of prevailing cultural representations is assessed through a case study of the records of Bethlehem (or 'Bedlam'/Bethlem) Hospital, the archetypal English madhouse.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Clothing / history*
  • England
  • History, 17th Century
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • Hospitals, Psychiatric / history*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / history
  • Mentally Ill Persons / history*
  • Poverty / history*