Report - - St. Lawrence's Asylum, Bodmin, Cornwall - August 2013 | Asylums and Hospitals | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - St. Lawrence's Asylum, Bodmin, Cornwall - August 2013


Bally up!
Regular User
St. Lawrence's Asylum (Cornwall County Asylum), Bodmin, Cornwall

Seffy and END-PROC.

Some history for you, seeing as this place has only recently cropped back up:

In the 1870s St Lawrence's Hospital in Bodmin, Cornwall, had been running for 50 years, one of sixteen county asylums set up between 1811 and 1842. By examining 511 admissions between 1870 and 1875 to this typical Victorian asylum we hoped to shed light on this mid-point of the asylum era. The 511 patients were all classified as 'paupers', whose admissions were publicly funded. A few privately funded patients were admitted during this period but are not included.

Asylum populations rose greatly through the 19th century. Whether this rise was mainly due to an increase in psychotic illness or to a decrease in tolerance of the mentally ill in the community is unclear. Many patients were admitted under the Poor Law and Lunacy Acts. After amending acts of 1853, the parish medical officer was required to visit all paupers in his areas four times a year. He was expected to notify the guardians or the overseers of those who seemed in need of mental treatment.1 If any were thought to need treatment in the asylum, admission was certified by the medical officer and the local justice of the peace.

The Lunacy Act of 1845 stated that all asylums must keep an admission book—a contemporary record of each admission with basic demographic data and details of diagnosis, cause of disorder and age of first attack. It also contained records of the date of discharge or death and whether the patient had recovered or not. From the admission book dated 1870–1875 (County Record Office, Truro), the only surviving one for Bodmin, we obtained demographic data and information on illnesses and outcomes.
After this place had been described to me a while ago, I did some searching online, and instantly wanted it. To be honest, the hall alone seemed a good enough reason to pay it a visit. Like others though, I'd been put off by tales of PIRs, high tech CCTV systems and security patrols left, right and centre. Seeing as it's a good two and a half hours drive from me, the idea of going all that way and failing was not appealing in the slightest.

This meant I needed to wait until I had confirmation that it could be done, before making the trip. This conformation came in the form of two reports only a week or two ago. As soon as I saw them, I knew that now was the time!

A big thanks to djflava, who, after not being able to make it himself, kindly gave us the heads up we needed to get in. This being said, access was not as easy as first anticipated, and a lot of trial and error was involved, but the result was worth it in the end.

Time was not on our side, which meant that we didn't have time to see it all. I mean, what a shame, that might mean I just have to take another trip back... ;)