Advertisements
Depicted is William Sellers in a photo taken at Bethlem Royal Hospital in 1856. Sellers were treated for mania after being accused of murdering his mother

These captivating portraits show the faces of patients being held in one of the most notorious and controversial psychiatric hospitals in history.

Advertisements

Dozens of people treated at Bethlem Royal Hospital – better known as the Bedlam – in London were photographed by doctors in the 1850s to try to find evidence of their mental health condition.

The photos were taken by photographer Henry Hering between 1856 and 1857 and were recently dug up between hospital records and doctors are unlikely to have derived much from the & # 39; evidence & # 39; in most patients with a similar expression.

Little is known about the patients, with only a few pictures with names and conditions.

But they reveal that some individuals had committed horrific crimes, including a woman with & # 39; apoplectic mania & # 39; who had killed a child while a William Sellers was in the hospital to be treated for mania after killing his mother.

The notorious institution, which first specialized in the treatment of mental health in Europe and later inspired the horror film Bedlam from 1946, was founded in 1247 during the reign of Henry III.

In the 19th century it used controversial and & # 39; disturbing & # 39; treatments, including one devised by Charles Darwin's grandfather, called & # 39; rotational therapy & # 39 ;, in which a patient was suspended in a chair and then spun for hours.

Advertisements

Patients also received & # 39; therapies & # 39; that brought starvation, mistreatment and immersion in cold baths.

A notorious aspect of Bethlem was its availability to the public. Rich patrons often pay a shillings to get the sadly trapped in the shelter.

Depicted is William Sellers in a photo taken at Bethlem Royal Hospital in 1856. Sellers were treated for mania after being accused of murdering his mother

This unknown woman was a criminal patient in & # 39; Bedlam & # 39; who was treated for apoplectic mania - sudden and impulsive behavior - after being accused of child murder. Her photo was taken in the hospital in 1857

This unknown woman was a criminal patient in & # 39; Bedlam & # 39; who was treated for apoplectic mania - sudden and impulsive behavior - after being accused of child murder. Her photo was taken in the hospital in 1857

Recently discovered photos revealed the faces of criminals at Bethlem Royal Hospital in London – also known as Bedlam – in the 1850s when it offered controversial treatments and even allowed the public to stare at patients. Pictured on the left is William Sellers in 1856, when he was treated for mania for killing his mother. Pictured on the right is an unknown woman in a photograph taken in 1857 – but records show that she had apoplectic mania – sudden and impulsive behavior – and was accused of child murder

Depicted is Charles Broadfoot Westrom, a murderer who was treated at Bedlam for mania. The photo was taken in 1856, but there are few details about the extent of his crimes

Depicted is Charles Broadfoot Westrom, a murderer who was treated at Bedlam for mania. The photo was taken in 1856, but there are few details about the extent of his crimes

This patient is only known as H.B. and was depicted in Bedlam in 1857. There are few details about the patient, but data shows that he was treated for & # 39; chronic mania & # 39;

This patient is only known as H.B. and was depicted in Bedlam in 1857. There are few details about the patient, but data shows that he was treated for & # 39; chronic mania & # 39;

Advertisements

& # 39; Bedlam & # 39; became notorious for his criminal patients in the 19th century, including Charles Broadfood Westrom, a murderer who was photographed in 1856 while being treated for mania at the London hospital. Pictured on the right is a patient in 1857, only known as H.B., whose diagnosis & # 39; chronic mania & # 39; was asked. Details about the patients are scarce, but they had their photos taken by Henry Hering between 1856 and 1857 because doctors believed they might be able to capture evidence of their condition on their faces

An unknown Bedlam patient is pictured here while sewing in 1857

An unknown Bedlam patient is pictured here while sewing in 1857

An unknown woman is depicted on Bedlam in 1857. Most photos show patients doing relaxing activities

An unknown woman is depicted on Bedlam in 1857. Most photos show patients doing relaxing activities

Both patients, pictured left and right, were photographed in London in 1857, but there are no details about their names or the circumstances for which they were treated. Both were photographed while sewing, and the photographs show that patients were shown who often did relaxing activities, such as reading, with most sitting in front of their portraits

An unknown older woman is depicted in Bedlam in 1857

An unknown older woman is depicted in Bedlam in 1857

A female patient looks depressed as she poses for a photo in 1857. Doctors asked for photos of patients to see if they could find evidence of their condition in their face
Advertisements

A female patient looks depressed as she poses for a photo in 1857. Doctors asked for photos of patients to see if they could find evidence of their condition in their face

Some patients at the London hospital, including these two women left and right, looked depressed as they were (both in 1857), but it is unknown whether doctors could have found out all the details about their condition. Bedlam was home to controversial methods in the 1800s, including & # 39; rotational therapy & # 39; – developed by Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus – in which a person was hung in the air on a chair and turned them repeatedly

A female patient with a hood is depicted sitting in Bedlam in 1857

A female patient with a hood is depicted sitting in Bedlam in 1857

An unknown male patient is depicted in 1857 while he appears to be enjoying a snack and a drink from a mug

An unknown male patient is depicted in 1857 while he appears to be enjoying a snack and a drink from a mug

Patients were depicted in different situations, with a man posing in 1857 while eating and drinking from a mug, while another woman sat down while wearing a hood, also in 1857. Bedlam – based on the site of what is now was Liverpool Street Station in London – in 1247 during the reign of Henry III – the first hospital in Europe specializing in mental health care

An unknown older woman is depicted in Bedlam in 1857 while holding a doll
Advertisements

An unknown older woman is depicted in Bedlam in 1857 while holding a doll

Another female patient was pictured in Bedlam in 1857 while reading

Another female patient was pictured in Bedlam in 1857 while reading

One of the female patients, pictured on the left in 1857, was depicted with a toy doll, suggesting that she may have used it as a surrogate for a child or may have had a much younger mental age. Another woman, on the right, also depicted on Bedlam in 1857, carries a non-excited expression while she is reading

Many female patients at Bethlem Hospital in London were found to be encouraged to start sewing and sewing, judging by the photos, with this unknown woman depicted in 1857 with a box of thread. Although the circumstances in Bedlam in the 19th century are often described as & # 39; gripping & # 39 ;, historians have claimed that they were not much worse than a typical Victorian house and that patients could walk freely around the site

Many female patients at Bethlem Hospital in London were found to be encouraged to start sewing and sewing, judging by the photos, with this unknown woman depicted in 1857 with a box of thread. Although the circumstances in Bedlam in the 19th century are often described as & # 39; gripping & # 39 ;, historians have claimed that they were not much worse than a typical Victorian house and that patients could walk freely around the site

Many female patients at Bethlem Hospital in London were found to be encouraged to start sewing and sewing, judging by the photos, with this unknown woman depicted in 1857 with a box of thread. Although the circumstances in Bedlam in the 19th century are often described as & # 39; gripping & # 39 ;, historians have claimed that they were not much worse than a typical Victorian house and that patients could walk freely around the site

An unknown male patient wearing a hat and a scarf is depicted with his hands together in Bedlam in London in 1857
Advertisements

An unknown male patient wearing a hat and a scarf is depicted with his hands together in Bedlam in London in 1857

A well-dressed male patient poses with his hands on his hips in Bedlam in London in 1857

A well-dressed male patient poses with his hands on his hips in Bedlam in London in 1857

These two well-dressed male patients, left and right, were also part of the group that Henry Hering had to photograph to see if their conditions could be analyzed through their facial expressions. During this period, Bedlam was based in St George & # 39; s Fields in Southwark, which is now the location of the Imperial War Museum. It moved to Bromley around 1930 and is now a leading psychiatric hospital run by the NHS

An unknown female patient is depicted with a book and a cap on Bedlam in 1857

An unknown female patient is depicted with a book and a cap on Bedlam in 1857

A serious-looking female patient is depicted in Bedlam in 1857

A serious-looking female patient is depicted in Bedlam in 1857

Many of the female patients, including the two pictured in 1857 left and right, wore bonnets for their photos and had similar stylized dresses. Midway through the 19th century, Bedlam was something of a tourist attraction for the rich, who could pay a shill for entry to walk around and look at the patients, as if it were a zoo

This black-and-white photo shows the exterior of the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London in 1926 when it moved to St George's & # 39; s Fields in Southwark, which is now the location of the Imperial War Museum

This black-and-white photo shows the exterior of the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London in 1926 when it moved to St George's & # 39; s Fields in Southwark, which is now the location of the Imperial War Museum

This black-and-white photo shows the exterior of the Bethlem Royal Hospital in London in 1926 when it moved to St George's & # 39; s Fields in Southwark, which is now the location of the Imperial War Museum

The historic hospital is now located at Monks Orchard in West Wickham, Bromley, pictured after it moved from Southwark in 1930

The historic hospital is now located at Monks Orchard in West Wickham, Bromley, pictured after it moved from Southwark in 1930

The historic hospital is now located at Monks Orchard in West Wickham, Bromley, pictured after it moved from Southwark in 1930

THE PIONEER'S MENTAL HOSPITAL THAT WAS A WORD FOR CHAOS AND MISERY

A treatment, invented by Erasmus Darwin (photo) called rotational therapy, involves placing a patient on a chair before turning around
Advertisements

A treatment, invented by Erasmus Darwin (photo) called rotational therapy, involves placing a patient on a chair before turning around

A treatment, invented by Erasmus Darwin (photo) called rotational therapy, involves placing a patient on a chair before turning around

The Bethlem Royal Hospital was the first special psychiatric institute in Europe, founded as a priory in 1247 and converted into a hospital in the early 14th century.

It was founded by Goffredo de Prefetti, who was elected bishop of Bethlehem, and was originally located just outside the city wall of London, on the site of what is now Liverpool Street Station.

The nickname & # 39; Bedlam & # 39; came from Londoners who shortened Bethlehem to Bethlem or Bedlem – who became Bedlam in modern spelling.

Advertisements

And because of the hospital's reputation as the main treatment center for the insane, a version of its name meant – & # 39; Bedlam & # 39; – more generally madness and chaos.

Although it is sometimes thought that it has treated its patients cruelly, most were free to walk on the property and the circumstances were not much worse than the average home during that period.

In 1674, the governors of the hospital decided that the institution should move a few hundred meters west to Moorfields, with the open space of the area considered healthier than the original building.

Bethlem moved in 1815 to St George & # 39; s Fields in Southwark, which is now the location of the Imperial War Museum.

A final step came in 1930 when the hospital moved to the outskirts of Bromley – it is now managed by the NHS and is considered a leading psychiatric hospital.

Advertisements

One treatment, invented by Erasmus Darwin – Charles's grandfather – called rotation therapy, included placing a patient in a chair that is suspended in the air and then spins for a few hours.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, patients were immersed in cold baths, starved and beaten. During this brutal period, a Quaker philanthropist Edward Wakefield visited Bethlem in 1814 and described naked, starving men chained to the wall.

A notorious aspect of Bethlem was its availability to the public. Rich patrons often pay a shillings to get the sadly trapped in the shelter.

OUTSTANDING PATIENTS ADMITTED TO BEDLAM

Edward Oxford (photo) tried to kill Queen Victoria in 1840 and was sent to Bedlam after he was found not guilty on the grounds of & # 39; insanity & # 39;

Edward Oxford (photo) tried to kill Queen Victoria in 1840 and was sent to Bedlam after he was found not guilty on the grounds of & # 39; insanity & # 39;

Edward Oxford (photo) tried to kill Queen Victoria in 1840 and was sent to Bedlam after he was found not guilty on the grounds of & # 39; insanity & # 39;

John Frith: Born in 1760, Frith believed he was St Paul, and in January 1790 he threw a stone at King George III's carriage as it traveled to parliament. He denied wanting to harm the king and was later declared unfit to plead for insanity and ended up in Bethlem Royal Hospital.

Edward Oxford: Mr Oxford was the first of eight people who tried to kill Queen Victoria in 1840. He was armed with a gun and shot twice – both missed both times. He was found not guilty due to insanity and sent to Bedlam.

Richard Dadd: The famous artist, born in Chatham, Kent, in 1817, became convinced that his father was the Devil and stabbed him to death and traveled to France. He admitted that he had murdered his father after his return to England and was sent to the Bedlam criminal department.

Jonathan Martin: He was a founder and was known to have set fire to York Minster in 1829. A jury convicted him of a capital charge – which should have resulted in the death penalty. However, the judge cleared him up for insanity and he was imprisoned in Bedlam – where he died nine years later.

Margaret Nicholson: Margaret was born in 1750 and tried to kill King George III in 1786. She approached the king in London holding a dessert knife and made two lunges on his chest. She was arrested and declared insane and sent to Bedlam – where she later died.

. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) news (t) london